But all three of these struggling Swedish citizens own companies registered at a prime address in Tallinn, Estonia’s capital city. Even more improbably, they bought these Estonian companies through other firms they own in the tiny Caribbean nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
They are part of a larger network of firms registered in the same distinctive way: Estonian companies owned by shell companies in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, largely owned by down-on-their-luck Swedes.
The reason for this unusual ownership pattern becomes clearer after a look at what these companies were used for: hawking get-rich-quick investment schemes online.
Many are tied to a Ukraine-based call center exposed in a series of articles by OCCRP and Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN) in March. The center allegedly defrauded people across the world by convincing them they were making investments in stocks, bitcoins, and foreign currencies through legitimate financial firms. The scheme is currently under investigation in Sweden.