Several prominent Princeton area business people, as well as about a dozen other people with central New Jersey home or business addresses, are linked to a database of offshore accounts that were obtained by investigative reporters in the Panama Papers leak of 2016 and the Offshore Leaks of 2013. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) obtained millions of documents from law firms representing offshore companies, and recently made the data available to the public in the form of a searchable database at www.panamapapers.icij.org.
The Offshore Leaks database turned up a connection to Randall A. Hack, with the address of 22 Chambers Street, as being a director of ASC Asian Equity Limited, a company founded in 1994 in the British Virgin Islands. From 1990 through 1994 Hack was the president of Princeton University Investment Company (Princo), which manages the university’s multibillion dollar endowment, and is headquartered at 22 Chambers Street. Hack also founded the company that is today known as Matrix Development, and was responsible for much of the industrial and warehouse development off Exit 8A. In a recent Princeton Alumni directory, Hack was listed as living in Connecticut.
Offshore accounts are commonly used as tax shelters, but experts say there are legitimate uses for them too, such as conducting business internationally. Hack did not return a call from U.S. 1 asking for comment.
A second person whose name appears in the Offshore Leaks database is Sanjiv Kakkar, with an address at 4 Harrison Lane in Princeton Junction. He was listed as director of First Family Holdings, a California company incorporated in 2005 and no longer operating. Kakkar is the owner of Himalaya International on Quakerbridge Road, a company that imports frozen food from India.
It was not clear from the database why Kakkar was listed, since First Family Holdings was registered in the U.S.
Also listed in the Offshore Leaks was Naveen Kumar, founder and CEO of Nityo Corporation, a Pittsburgh-based IT consulting company with offices all over the world, including one at 666 Plainsboro Road. According to the database, Kumar was a shareholder of KRIS Holding Corporation and Nityo Holding Corporation, both British Virgin Islands companies.
The complete documents obtained by the ICIJ could potentially shed further light on the nature of the companies linked to the databases. But the ICIJ did not respond to a request by U.S. 1 to view the documents. Other than names and addresses gleaned from the databases, U.S. 1 was unable to determine any other details regarding the other dozen names linked to the offshore companies.
While using offshore corporations and trusts is not illegal, journalists who are part of the ICIJ have used the documents to shed light on illegal aspects of the offshore finance industry, and have uncovered connections to organized crime and several world leaders.
The papers have revealed, for example, that Russian president Vladimir Putin funnelled about $2 billion through offshore accounts.
In April Icelandic prime minister Sigmundur Davio Gunnlaugsson stepped down after the Panama Papers showed he was concealing millions of dollars in assets in offshore accounts.