Seychelles Financial Services Authority Probes Alpha Consulting Following Media Allegations

Victoria — The Seychelles’ Financial Services Authority (FSA) has initiated an investigation into Alpha Consulting after allegations surfaced through international and local media reports questioning the business practices of the International Corporate Service Provider (ICSP).

According to Seychelles News Agency, the FSA announced the probe following a series of allegations by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), and Finance Uncovered, as well as an SBC documentary broadcast last week. The media reports suggest that Alpha Consulting might be involved in activities that conceal the true ownership of limited partnerships registered in the UK.

The FSA condemned any illegal business activities by its licensees and expressed its commitment to preventing the use of Seychelles-registered entities for illicit purposes. The media investigations have accused Alpha Consulting of facilitating the formation of over 900 UK partnerships, which reportedly exploit a century-old UK law to obscure the identities of their true owners. Furthermore, the FSA referenced the media’s identification of Seychelles legal and natural persons in these allegations.

BBC’s investigation, in collaboration with Finance Uncovered and SBC, involved an analysis of internal documents from Alpha Consulting and revealed that the firm, directed by Russian businesswoman Victoria Valkovskaya, was instrumental in the creation of a significant number of limited partnerships in the UK since 2017. Conversely, the Finance Uncovered report highlighted Valkovskaya’s denial of any misconduct and her compliance with the process of filing suspicious transaction reports (STRs) to the Financial Intelligence Unit upon discovery of new information from journalists.

The reports clarified that there is no indication of illegal action by Alpha Consulting in the establishment of these UK firms, nor any involvement in the management of the businesses by the firm’s end clients.

The FSA assured that should the ongoing investigation uncover any regulatory violations, appropriate enforcement actions will be taken against the individuals responsible, adhering to the rule of law. The Authority reaffirmed its commitment to upholding the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations and to ensure that all regulated entities comply with the laws and regulations.

The FSA emphasized its zero-tolerance stance towards activities that jeopardize the reputation and financial stability of Seychelles. In light of Seychelles being placed back on the EU blacklist recently, the FSA’s determination to collaborate with international bodies to mitigate risks, including anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing risks, remains steadfast.

Seychelles’ inclusion on the EU blacklist was attributed mainly to challenges in fulfilling information exchange requests. The country has sought a review of the criteria used by the European Council for its non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes list.