Look, I’m not here to tell anyone to do or not do porn, but if you are thinking about it, the first thing that you should know is that if you get any amount of non-porn fame after the fact, the company you made porn for is going to out you faster than I could crank one out to your clip. It’s basically illegal for them to do so, of course, but all it takes is one “anonymous” tip to turn an obscure, half-assed porn clip into the most valuable piece of content in town. But while it’s predictable, it’s still shady, and it’s interesting to go down the rabbit hole (possible porn title) with the recent outing of former Miss Delaware Teen USA Melissa King, whom it was recently discovered had once filmed a triple X scene for a site called GirlsDoPorn (well, alleged outing, anyway, since King still sort of denies that it’s her in the video). The company went so far as to release a clip of King saying her name and agreeing to the terms of her contract on video.
Again, I’m pret-tay sure that’s illegal, but more interestingly, our friend Eric Barry did some digging on that particular outfit, and while it’s not a surprise that they won’t be getting any awards from the Better Business Bureau any time soon, some of the stuff he found you just can’t make up. The company that outed Melissa King, in fact, has connections to drug money laundering, illegal arms smuggling, and massive Russian tax fraud. The connection? A mysterious Australian businessman called “Lord Stubbington,” which, incredibly, is not a porn name, but an actual title.
Okay, let’s back up:
According to GirlsDoPorn.com’s 2257 page, their Custodian of Records is located in Port Vila, Vanuatu. What’s that you say? You’ve never heard of the archipelagic island nation located 1,100 miles off of Australia’s east coast? Well that’s funny, because that’s where “Sir” “Professor” Geoffrey Taylor runs a whole host of shell companies linked to arms trades, tax fraud, and general shadiness. The name of the business that Geoffrey Taylor uses to run these companies? GT Group, LTD. That’s right! The SAME company listed as the Custodian of Records on the GirlsDoPorn website!
GDP claims its actual incorporated name is Bubblegum Films, Inc. That name sounded really familiar to me. And then I remembered how I’d run across a Craigslist post last year from a supposed modeling agency looking for models with “no experience” who they’d be shooting right from day 1. Even more suspicious, they claimed they’d be paying the models $1500 for the shoot. The name of that company? Bubblegum Casting. If the pubescent feel of the “modeling agency”‘s name and site aren’t enough to give you pause, consider this: sources say King was paid $1500 for her GDP shoot – exactly the same amount I saw in the Bubblegum posting – and the same amount Bubblegum says they pay on their own Facebook page. Furthermore, both GDP and Bubblegum share the same, rather obscure domain registrar information. But nowhere on Bubblegum’s page does it mention that models are applying to engage in adult modeling, but instead focuses on the comfortable environment created for aspiring models who have zero experience. All of its promotional videos show photoshoots exclusively of models wearing the Bubblegum apparelin extremely low-budget shoots – not a very lucrative business model considering Bubblegum doesn’t even sell merchandise. [BrokeAssStuart]
The fact that a shady “modeling agency’ tricks naive, wannabe models into doing porn could actually be considered remarkably transparent in the porn world, where many videos purport to depict exactly that. …You know, so I’ve heard. And who knows how much they’ve now made off that initial investment of a modest $1500? However much it is, I’m sure their contract doesn’t require them to share any of it with their outed star.
But what about this Geoffrey Taylor guy? Yeah, so he’s the British-born 68-year-old now living in Queensland, Australia who also goes by  “Lord Stubbington.” And strap in, because here’s where it gets good.
Taylor has led an astonishing double life. Publicly, he has served as a company director and chairman of sharemarket-listed companies both here [in Australia] and in New Zealand. Privately, his shell company structures are used by those behind them in a vast and covert game of hide-and-seek, through his clients’ incorporation of thousands of entities, some of which later became involved in the international movement of oil, guns and money.
He continues to go by several aliases and titles – Professor Geoffrey Taylor, Sir Geoffrey Taylor, Lord Stubbington and as high representative to Vanuatu.
Yeah… so about those titles…
…the degrees he boldly displays are from a discredited internet-based university registered in the US tax-haven state of Delaware. The doctorate is from Southern Pacific University, another net university headed by Geoffrey Taylor himself. By his own admission on the university’s website, this is the origin of his professorship.
In 2003, the same year Taylor graduated and shortly before he was appointed as its president, Southern Pacific University was closed by a US court order after it was found to be operating illegally out of Hawaii. It is now based in the tax haven of Saint Kitts and Nevis, the smallest nation in the Americas, and in the tiny Central American tax haven of Belize, and offers degree programs for about $3750 and doctorates for $7500.
Yeah, yeah, a mail-order degree for a guy who runs tax shelters for a living. Big deal. But why “Lord Stubbington?”
‘Would you like to add stature and credibility to your company by appointing someone with both an English title and substantial qualifications to your board? Lord Stubbington is available,” reads a letter circulated by Taylor’s wife, Priscila Lustre Taylor.
Ooh, yes, please, I’d much rather deal with a be-titled English gentleman than the plebian, sub-aristocratic rabble. Even one whose wife’s middle name is “Lustre.” (Or maybe she kept her stripper name when she got married?)
The origins of Taylor’s knighthood and his diplomatic career as high representative to Vanuatu lie in Hutt River Province, the third place where his university was, until recently, registered. Hutt River, population 30, is little more than a tourist curiosity sprawling over 75 square kilometres of farmland in a remote part of Western Australia.
Forty-one years ago, the owner, a sheep and wheat farmer called Leonard Casley, declared the land independent from the rest of Australia. Since then, Hutt River has issued its own fantasy passports, currency and stamps, featuring portraits of Casley and his wife Shirley. As head of the so-called principality, Casley is known formally as His Majesty Prince Leonard I of Hutt and he bestows knighthoods on loyal subjects, some of whom – like Taylor – claim to act as his diplomatic envoys.
From as early as 2004, Taylor – with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority monitoring him but unable to detect anything illegal – began promoting Hutt River as Australia’s very own tax haven, drafting a set of commercial and banking laws for the make-believe nation. He offered to incorporate international business companies in Hutt River and to sell banking licences and gambling rights to offshore internet companies that wished to base their virtual casinos, lotteries and sports betting operations there.
Casley says Taylor has since been stripped of his knighthood, his diplomatic position and his Hutt River citizenship. ”There was no one incident at all – just general things that he was doing,” Casley explained. ”I don’t wish to go into it deeper.”
That’s right, the guy who declared himself emperor of an imaginary nation of internet gambling sites and tax shelters kicked Lord Stubbington out on account of being too sketchy. That’s worse than getting kicked out of Guns and Roses for partying too hard.
But basically, Lord Stubbington/Geoffrey Taylor, thanks to a working knowledge of Vanuatu’s incorporation laws, runs a network of shell companies, of which GirlsDoPorn is part of. So, what else does Taylor’s GT Group encompass? Lots of fun stuff, like drug money laundering and arms smuggling. For instance, a plane registered to one of GT Group’s companies flying from North Korea to Iran was stopped while refueling in Bangkok in 2009, and was found carrying “30 tonnes of explosives, rocket-propelled grenades and components for surface-to-air missiles, all being transported in breach of United Nations sanctions.” Neat!
Re: drug money:
Last year police intelligence sources told Fairfax newspapers and the ABC’s 7.30 Report that about half the cocaine now entering Australia was being sent from Mexico, and that the Sinaloa cartel was behind many of the shipments.
During the court proceedings it was alleged that four New Zealand firms registered by the GT Group – Keronol Ltd, Melide Ltd, Tormex Ltd, and Dorio (NZ) Ltd – helped launder about $40 million of the proceeds using Latvian bank accounts and Wachovia’s London branch.
Hmm, too many steps removed from actual murder. What else ya got?
The business magazine Barron’s reported that late last month documents emerged out of London that linked a shell company called Bristoll Export, registered in New Zealand by GT Group, to a scandal that some commentators claim has the potential to be Russia’s Watergate.
It centres on Russia’s largest tax fraud, which occurred on Christmas Eve, 2007, when Moscow tax officials approved a same-day refund of $US230 million to a gang masquerading as representatives of Hermitage Capital, once the largest portfolio investor in Russia.
The money was funnelled through accounts at Citibank, JPMorgan Chase and Credit Suisse via a series of shell companies, one of which was allegedly Bristoll Export.
Four of the six people said by police to have pulled off the fraud are now dead. One had a fatal heart attack. A second fell from his balcony. The third plummeted out of a penthouse window.
The fourth was Sergei Magnitsky, a 37-year-old lawyer for Hermitage Capital who died in prison after he provided evidence that the money had been stolen by a ring of corrupt tax officials, police and career criminals.
And when corrupt tax cheats and known gangsters die in Russian prisons, as we all know, it’s almost always of natural causes. This information all comes from a Sydney Morning Herald profile of Geoffrey Taylor, by the way, and it’s quite the read.
At the moment, it’s hard to tell what “Bubblegum Films’” connection to the GT Group is, other than a tax haven/shell company. But perhaps there’s some interested prosecutor, or lawyer for Melissa King who’d be willing to find out. I’m just spitballing here. So what’s the takeaway? I guess it’s that when a porn company outs the stars of one of their videos, it can turn out that they themselves are hiding stuff a lot worse than a little jizz in the face. That people in glass houses shouldn’t throw jizz, say. I think it was Nietzsche who said that.
[thanks to Eric Barry for finding all of this through some simple Googling]