The international business and philanthropic group led by Israel’s richest woman includes a Luxembourg subsidiary that shares its address with more than 1200 other companies, and uses complex financial structures like internal loans and hybrid tools, according to analysis of secret tax documents by Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
Shari Arison leads the Arison Group, a self-described “global business and philanthropic conglomerate” which makes “values-based investments” in 40 countries around the world with the aim of “Doing Good,” according to the company website. The website also states that the “heart” of the group is in Israel, and a list of senior management shows that most are Israeli citizens.
In 2008 Arison announced her latest investment – “Miya”, a company aiming to optimize water supply in urban water systems. An official Miya brochure mentions lists the company’s two offices: one in Tel Aviv and the other in Rue John F. Kennedy 46A in Luxembourg – an address shared by about 1250 other companies, according to the official Luxembourg corporate registry. When a reporter for Haaretz called recently, the Luxembourg office reportedly referred a request to speak with management back to the Israeli offices.
The leaked PricewaterhouseCoopers file about Miya, dated January 2010, is almost 100 pages long. It reveals that Miya is registered in Luxembourg and sets out complicated financial structures and strategies for the company, including internal loans and other hybrid tools implemented between some of the group’s companies around the world, including in Switzerland and Gibraltar. The suggested financial structure was approved by former Luxembourg tax official Marius Kohl on March 2010, two months after it was filed.
An Arison spokeswoman refused to answer questions about the tax paid by Miya in Luxembourg, Israel or other countries. She did say that Miya is an international company operating around the world, and its structure is build accordingly. A spokesperson for the Israeli tax authorities said the tax office would not comment on the tax payments of a private company.