Jim Ovia Private Jet , House , Mansion and Cars : Jim Ovia is the guy behind one of Nigeria’s most successful banks, Zenith Bank. He is reported to be worth $1 billion.
He graduated from Harvard Business School and is widely renowned for introducing several improvements to the banking business. He was in charge of growing Zenith Bank into one of the largest and most profitable banks in the country. He is now the bank’s chairman.
He also founded Visafone Communications Limited, which was later bought by MTN.
Jim Ovia also serves as the chairman of the Nigerian Software Development Initiative (NSDI), the Cyberspace Network Limited, and the National Information Technology Advisory Council (NITAC). He is also a member of the Honorary International Investor Council and the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI).
From Sahara Reporters:
Jim Ovia, the Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, has promised to return £10,892,166 in value-added tax that he allegedly failed to pay when bringing two luxury planes into the European Union.
Mr. Ovia and Nigeria’s Central Bank governor, Godwin Emefiele, were listed among a number of people throughout the world suspected of using sham leasing schemes to evade VAT on planes brought into the EU.
In response to the claims, Mr. Ovia stated that, while Zenith Bank Plc was an end user of the aircraft, it was not acquired by the bank.
“In order to avoid misunderstanding, Mr. Ovia has requested us to make it plain that no money from Zenith Bank were utilized to buy the aircraft,” Mr. Ovia said in a letter dated October 27 through his attorneys, Clifford Chance.
“You are aware that Oviation Limited obtained competent opinion from Ernst & Young LLC at the time of the transaction that VAT was correctly recoverable.” We are informed that if the opinion was that VAT should not have been recovered in full or in part, the firm would not have lodged the relevant claim.”
“Oviation Limited has no cause to question the initial advice, but if such advice changes, we are directed that Oviation Limited will reimburse the applicable VAT.” This demonstrates Mr. Ovia’s honesty at all times.”
More than 380 journalists from 96 media organizations in 67 countries examined leaked data obtained by the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung and the International Consortium of International Journalists (ICIJ) from two offshore secrecy providers (Appleby and Asiaciti Trust) and 19 secrecy jurisdictions around the world.
The 1.4 terabyte data dump, now known as the Paradise Papers, comprises 13.4 million records and is without a doubt one of the largest leaks in history.
For months, ICIJ partner media from 67 countries combed through the massive data, which spans over 70 years, from 1950 to 2016. The only Nigerian media institution engaged in the inquiry is PREMIUM TIMES.
In the record, more than 120 politicians and government leaders from nearly 50 countries, as well as hundreds of businesspeople from across the world, were identified as users of offshore corporations.
According to papers obtained by this newspaper and other ICIJ partners, Messrs Emefiele and Ovia established three offshore organizations in tax havens between 2007 and 2012, which were then used to buy luxury planes and shift cash in cyclical patterns that suggested tax evasion tactics.
Vitesse Asset Management SA (founded in Switzerland in 2007), Oviation Asset Management Limited (founded in Bermuda in 2009), and Oviation Limited are the shell corporations (an Isle of Man company incorporated in 2012).
According to public records, the two bankers paid $33 million for a Gulfstream 450 and brought it into the Isle of Man, a European jurisdiction where one of their shell firms, Oviation Limited, is registered. After that, Oviation Limited leased it to another of their firms, which subsequently leased it to Zenith Bank.
Ovation Limited then filed for VAT on the Isle of Man with the assistance of Ernst & Young, a global professional services business located in London, and utilized a deferral account to pay and seek a refund of £4,239,178.13 VAT.
Messrs Ovia and Emefiele employed a similar strategy when they purchased a $51 million G550 aircraft in November 2015 and received a VAT refund of £6,652,988.36.
According to tax experts and journalists, the leasing structures used for these transactions were designed to dodge tax, and tax authorities should demand return of the sum.
They claimed that Oviation Limited is not a legitimate firm since it serves no actual economic function and that the transactions it engages in are fake. In its Isle of Man location, the firm does not have an office or fixed address, personnel, telephone lines, or computers, and it is not known to provide any services. According to the experts, the firm does not fulfill the established setup test (HMRC VAT Notice 741A: place of supply of services).
According to the experts, the two planes acquired by the bankers are not qualifying aircraft under EU and UK tax legislation, therefore VAT cannot be repaid to private persons or exempt entities such as banks. The airplane was used by Zenith Bank.
Following the findings, Mr. Emefiele attempted to dissociate himself from the transactions, claiming that he had resigned from his position in the shell businesses and that Mr. Ovia was the sole benefactor.
The Isle of Man Government said on October 23 that it has asked Her Majesty Treasury to conduct a study of the practice of importing business jets into the EU via the Isle of Man, with a focus on the VAT treatment of aircraft leasing agreements.
Following continuous and concerted questions on the topic by media organizations affiliated with the ICIJ, the administration declared it had no choice but to take that precaution.