On May 21, 2007 the shares in the Sydney biotech company Novogen held by a little-known BVI company were confiscated. The NSW Supreme Court action is the first public move by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission in the five-agency, $305 million tax haven probe, Operation Wickenby.
The money that are to be traced were received by Novogen founder Graeme Kelly from selling Novogen options in the mid-nineties, following the company’s listing. In September 2005, Dr Kelly moved to the United States to run the company’s operations there.
The company is probing large transfers and loans involving secret trusts operated by Swiss advisory firm Strachans and companies controlled by those trusts in the British Virgin Islands.
The court gave interim orders to restrain a BVI company named Leominister from dealing in the 2.2 million shares it owns in Novogen â€“ that is 2.2% of the company.
Leominister has long defied regulator’s demands to disclose the name of its ultimate controller. The BVI company was incorporated in 1997 and became a substantial Novogen shareholder in 1999, having 6.7% of the company. Since that time, it has steadily reduced the amount of its shares in Novogen company.