The Real Deal Miami

More of “Panama Papers” South Florida connection

Two billionaires with local ties hid their assets using offshore companies

April 06, 2016 12:10PM
By Sean Stewart-Muniz

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South Beach

South Beach

The world has already begun reeling from the “Panama Papers,” an investigation that’s blown the lid off how politicians and the ultra-wealthy hide their money using offshore companies.

More than 11 million documents were leaked from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which specialized in setting up secretive entities for the world’s affluent.

So far, power players like Iceland’s prime minister — who resigned Tuesday — and close friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin have been implicated. But a bevy of names tied to the U.S. have also been revealed, including some with connections to the Sunshine State.

Igor Olenicoff

Igor Olenicoff

Igor Olenicoff

Billionaire commercial real estate mogul Igor Olenicoff, who runs his company Olen Properties out of Lighthouse Point, was included in the data leak as a shareholder of Olen Oil Management Limited, according to the McClatchy Washington bureau. His wealth is valued by Forbes at $4.1 billion, making him the 162nd richest man in the U.S.

Olenicoff has a history of battling tax evasion lawsuits and even pleaded guilty to a federal tax felony in 2007, agreeing to pay $52 million to the IRS after his $200 million worth of offshore companies were revealed.

Some of his recent dealings in South Florida include the $44 million purchase of a garden-style apartment community in West Palm Beach. He bought that property in the name of a Florida corporation.

Dmitry Rybolovlev (Credit: Francknataf)

Dmitry Rybolovlev (Credit: Francknataf)

Dmitry Rybolovlev

Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, who made his fortune investing in industries like fertilizer, captured global headlines last year when his $4.5 billion divorce with former wife Elena was touted as the world’s priciest-ever marital split.

The divorce became a game of hide-the-asset, and the recent “Panama Papers” leak shows the Russian billionaire used offshore companies to hide priceless art from Elena like paintings by Monet and Picasso, according to a report in the Art Newspaper.

Locally, he was outed as the true buyer behind the $95 million purchase of Donald Trump’s sprawling former six-acre estate in Palm Beach as part of the divorce proceedings. He’s now planning to raze the property’s insane 62,000-square-foot home, possibly to subdivide it into three new houses. He bought the home in the name of a Florida limited liability company.

He was known to be skittish over admitting he owned the home, at one point denying he had any stake in the property, according to a report in the Palm Beach Post.