Born in New York but hailing from one of the most renowned Milanese families, Bonomi is the founder of the Luxembourg-based Investindustrial investment house, which took control of the Sergio Rossi firm from Kering in 2015 and has stakes in Aston Martin, Perfume Holding, B&B Italia and luxury lighting firm Flos, among others.
In its article, L’Espresso reveals that Investindustrial is controlled by three trusts based in the Channel Islands of Jersey. Established in 1987 by Bonomi’s father Carlo Campanini Bonomi, the three structures are named The George Trust, The Budda Trust and The 1987 Settlement Trust.
The trusts control Investindustrial through three other companies — named Grosvenor Street Holdings SA, De Combinatae NV and Zafrikidis Oil & Ship Ltd., — which also remained unidentified until now.
The disclosure of this complex organization and Bonomi’s inclusion in the Paradise Papers list are a consequence of a specific episode dating back to last year.
In January 2016, the Milanese family requested bank financing for the acquisition of a Dassault Falcon 900DX jet, priced at $13.5 million, from a Swiss company. The offshore legal services provider Appleby — which is one of the firms leaking the Paradise Papers documents — advised Bonomi to register a new firm based on the Isle of Man and make the jet figure as a company jet, in order to save $2.7 million in taxes.
The jet was then addressed to a Swiss company controlled by Bonomi named Ifimi SA, but when the bank asked about guarantees on the new, Isle of Man-based company for the financing, one of Bonomi’s managers, Rohan Maxwell, disclosed the existence of the three trusts, adding that they were valued at $218 million since they controlled Investindustrial.
Reached for a comment by L’Espresso, Bonomi confirmed the three trusts and corollary companies control Investindustrial, adding that “there was no fiscal motive in establishing the trusts.” He also denied any wrongdoing as he is “just an American and Swiss citizen” and has no fiscal duties toward Italy. In conclusion, he underscored that the Swiss Ifimi SA company paid taxes in Switzerland.
The Paradise Papers are a range of over 13.4 million leaked documents about sheltered wealth from two offshore service providers, Appleby and Asiacity, and company registries of 19 tax havens. The material was obtained by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared with 380 international journalists, who are part of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
Currently, 96 news organizations in 67 countries are reporting on the subject.
Other people whose financial affairs have been mentioned in the Paradise Papers over the last week include luxury titan Bernard Arnault, Queen Elizabeth II, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and president of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos, among others.