Celtic’s majority shareholder Dermot Desmond has been dragged into the Panama Papers scandal after it was reported by the Irish Times that the Irish billionaire has appeared in the files of Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.
Desmond, who invested in Celtic back in 1994 at the time when Fergus McCann was taking control of the club, has been named in the law firm’s leaked documentation – including a letter dated June 2005 from HSBC Private Bank in Switzerland to the law firm’s office in Panama in relation to a company called Ard International Inc.
A meeting of company directors the same month, allegedly granted Desmond general power of attorney over the company to Desmond – including the right to deal in assets, open and close bank accounts.
Five months later another letter allegedly from Desmond asked the Ard International directors to pass power of attorney to two Swiss lawyers instead of him, with Desmond reportedly quoted as writing: “This being done, I resign as attorney of the above mentioned company and ask you to kindly destroy the document of my appointment and the one of my resignation.”
There is no information on what business was conducted by Ard International, if any, it is questionable that Desmond would request the destruction of documentation highlighting his appointment and resignation of a company.
Earlier this week, we reported on our twitter account that former Celtic defender Marc Rieper was also named in the Panama Papers.
Following his playing career ending, Rieper allegedly set up the company Bolsover Corp. in Panama. However, the retired Danish international denied any knowledge of the company and in a message to DR News, Rieper said: “I’ve never had any kind of cooperation with anyone or anything in Panama. How our names got there, I am not able to help.”
To make it clear at this stage, there is no evidence or information to state that Desmond or Rieper were involved in any sort of criminality.