October 19, 2021

How Bishop David Oyedepo set up family offshore company in tax haven

After Chris Oyakhilome of Christ Embassy and the late Temitope Joshua, the founder of Synagogue Church of All Nations, David Oyedepo, the founder and general overseer of Living Faith Church Worldwide, is the latest Nigerian mega-preacher found to have set up a family offshore company in the British Virgin Islands.

Mr Oyedepo’s offshore company popped up as part of the ongoing global Pandora Papers reporting project, led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and in which Premium Times is a key participant.

The project involved 600 journalists from 150 news organisations around the world sorting and analysing a trove of almost 12 million confidential files, tracking down and interviewing sources, and adding context using public records and other documents.

The leaked files were retrieved from some offshore services firms around the world that set up shell companies and other offshore entities for clients, many of them influential politicians, businesspersons, and criminals seeking to conceal their financial dealings.

In August 2007 Mr Oyedepo contracted the services of Business Centrum Limited, a London-based agent, to help him set up a company in the infamous tax haven for him and his immediate family.

Business Centrum subsequently subcontracted Trident Trust Group, one of the world’s leading secrecy enablers and one of the most notorious providers of offshore corporate and financial services.

The company, Zadok Investments Limited, was set up on August 20, 2007 with 50,000 ordinary shares with a value of $1.00 each.

Although the directors of the company are Mr Oyedepo and his two sons – David (junior) and Isaac, every member of Mr Oyedepo’s family are listed as shareholders.

Mr Oyedepo and his wife, Faith, are the largest shareholders with 30 percent of shares each.
His children – David (junior), who in 2016 was appointed resident pastor of the headquarters of the church, known as Faith Tabernacle, has 10 percent while Isaac, who is the resident pastor of the church’s branch in Maryland, the United States of America, also has 10 per cent of the shares.

Love and Joy – the two daughters of the cleric – were similarly given 10 percent shares each.

The documents did not reveal the exact businesses and transactions the offshore company was set up to conduct. The entity however appears to be the family’s investment vehicle under which the family’s wealth is warehoused for offshore management.
When reached via his personal email address, Mr Oyedepo did not respond to questions sent to him seeking his comments.

We also sent the questions to the publicised emails of his church, including that of the church’s branch in Maryland. Some of the emails returned undelivered while we did not receive any response for those that delivered.

The telephone number Mr Oyedepo listed in company documents failed to connect.

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