An offshore firm helped create companies used by members of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, including one hiding the late mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin’s yacht, the BBC can reveal. Seychelles-based Alpha Consulting also helped to form more than 900 UK partnerships which used a secrecy loophole to conceal their true owners. One partnership was involved in running a sanctions-busting oil tanker, while others committed crimes. The investigation by the BBC, Finance Uncovered and the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation has analysed internal Alpha documents and thousands of company records to identify some of the people who secretly benefitted from the work of the offshore firm, based in the island nation in the Indian Ocean. As well as catering to members of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, Alpha Consulting was a secrecy factory – one of the most prolific companies helping to exploit a gaping loophole in UK law. Some of the partnerships it helped create have been involved in alleged fraud and running an illegal essay mill.