One of Norway’s most prominent families, with a fortune built on shipowning and shipping operations, reportedly has set up no less than 42 companies in tax havens. Leif Ø Høegh, speaking on behalf of the Høegh family, claims there have been no attempts, however, to hide family fortunes from tax collectors.
“It’s clear that that we’re not trying to hide away,” Høegh, age 52, wrote in an email to newspaper Aftenposten, after it uncovered the companies as part of its access to documents leaked from the Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca. The Høegh family has used the law firm to set up so-called “postbox-” or “brass-plate-” companies in the British Virgin Islands, and 20 of them are still active.
“We use our own name, we undergo voluntary regulation by financial authorities in three countries and we report to the authorities in most of the large financial centers,” Høegh wrote. He claimed the owners of the companies “of course pay the correct taxes we owe.”
He said the companies, along with an office on Guernsey in the Channel Islands, reflect how family members have lived for years in England, where the rules call for international operations being owned from abroad. He added in a press release sent out by Høegh Capital Partners that the practice of having companies registered offshore was common and accepted by the authorities.
In addition to its long history in shipping, Høegh family members are also active in real estate investing, both commercial and residential. Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported that cousins Leif Ø Høegh and Morten W Høegh also operate the car-carrier company Høegh Autoliners Holdings and the gas tanker shipowning firm Høegh LNG Holding.