The wealthy business mogul Marc Ravalomanana — who used to run an airline and was the founder of the Canadian juice-maker FreshCo — had assets beyond the imagination of most people in Canada. They include millions of dollars in real estate and an impressive chain of fast-food stores.
But Mr. Ravalomanana’s vast wealth was also shrouded in legal limbo. At least some of it was hidden, Mr. Ravalomanana’s ex-wife, Suzan Ravalomanana, told the Globe and Mail, in what are known as the Paradise Papers.
But Mr. Ravalomanana had a lawyer and adviser working with him in Luxembourg, Gerard de Graffenried, who operated a foundation that managed the multimillion-dollar worth of Mr. Ravalomanana’s assets. The two men had a grudge against the government of Quebec, which Mr. de Graffenried worked as an advisor for. They wanted to fight it, using Mr. de Graffenried’s asset-management organization as a means of attacking those behind the Canadian tax evasion probe that had been charged with reining in offshore tax cheats.
Without telling his government officials or his family, Mr. de Graffenried set up the company, X4Com International, to evade taxation on the Marc Ravalomanana’s holdings, he testified in a courtroom in Luxembourg.