The Derbyshire Independent has secured legal documents, received from the Isle of Man companies registrar, that evidence that British Virgin Island (BVI) sourced offshore finance was involved in the construction of the Friar Gate Square ‘Copper Building’ that houses the University of Derby’s law school.
A number of the involved parties are listed in the Panama Papers money laundering database, although that doesn’t necessarily indicate that money laundering was involved in the Friar Gate Square development. It does, however, raise serious questions as to the due diligence checks made by Derby City Council prior to giving the project the go-ahead.
A detailed analysis of the city council’s accounts reveals that the building’s Isle of Man registered development company (since dissolved) also benefited from over £3m of undisclosed funding from Derby City Council. That deal was brokered between the city council and parties acting on behalf of the developer’s BVI and Monaco based investors at the MIPIM real estate event held in the south of France.
Coincidentally, the University of Derby has also attended MIPIM. It’s ironic that the Copper Building also houses the International Policing and Justice Institute and, perhaps, coincidental that the university’s ex-Head of Law should end up lecturing in a tax-free enclave that is adjacent to the British Virgin Islands…