Kevin Hart Accuses Tasha K of Using Shell Company to Evade ‘Financial Liabilities’ In Extortion Lawsuit. Are Shell Companies Illegal?

Kevin Hart is intensifying his legal battle against YouTuber Tasha K and his former assistant Miesha Shakes. He is accusing Tasha K of extortion ad his ex-assistant of breaking her nondisclosure agreement. Hart has amended his lawsuit, including a new defendant, Yelen Entertainment LLC, which he claims Tasha K’s husband is the principal of and which he believes is connected to the ongoing legal dispute, according to RadarOnline.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 18: Kevin Hart attends the Netflix’s “True Story” New York Screening at the Whitby Hotel on November 18, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

The Lawsuit: Allegations of Extortion and Defamation

The lawsuit, originally filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, accuses Tasha K of leading a scheme to extort $250,000 from Hart by threatening to air a “tell-all” interview with Shakes.

Tasha K, whose real name is Latasha Kebe, boasts over a million subscribers on her YouTube channel, where she primarily discusses celebrity gossip. In March, she was ordered to pay $4 million in a defamation case brought by rapper Cardi B over false claims, including allegations of prostitution and drug use.

According to Hart, an unidentified affiliate of Tasha K approached him in November, demanding $250,000 to prevent the damaging interview from being published. Hart refused to comply, contacted law enforcement, and sent a cease-and-desist letter to Tasha K, warning her that any damages arising from her actions would not be dischargeable in bankruptcy.

The Threatening Teaser: ‘We Have to get Money by Any Means Necessary

The lawsuit highlights a teaser for the interview posted in November, in which Tasha K purportedly threatened Hart, stating, “When you don’t pay, we have to get money by any means necessary.” Additionally, Hart accuses Miesha Shakes of violating confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements by divulging confidential business and personal information.

Shakes, who worked for Hartbeat Productions from 2017 to 2020 as Hart’s personal assistant, is alleged to have exploited what she claims are unidentified “loopholes” in her confidentiality agreements. The NDA provided for Shakes to be paid $90,000 over three years, The Hollywood Reporter reported.

Allegations Made During the Interview

In the interview, Shakes made various allegations, including claims that Hart was a serial cheater and a gambling addict who paid an associate millions to take DUI charges on his behalf. The interview was published on Tasha K’s website, accessible only through a monthly subscription fee.

Yelen Entertainment LLC: The New Defendant

In the amended lawsuit, Hart adds Yelen Entertainment LLC as a defendant, alleging that the company was created as a successor entity to Kebe Studios, which Tasha K formerly operated. Hart claims that Yelen Entertainment LLC was established to dodge liabilities. He contends that both Kebe Studios and Yelen Entertainment LLC are merely shell companies use for Tasha K to avoid legal responsibilities.

Hart claims Yelen was “formed as a successor entity to Kebe Studios, in an effort by [Tasha]” and her business to “evade financial liabilities.”

“You have already engaged in criminal conduct and tortious acts that would entitle Mr. Hart to monetary damages against you should he elect to commence civil litigation regarding this matter,” wrote Donte Mills, a lawyer for Hart, in the amended suit, per Radar. “To the extent that you do not cease and desist now, your liability for such monetary damages will increase, as will your exposure to criminal penalties.”

Shell Companies

Shell companies are not inherently illegal, but they can be used for both legitimate and illegitimate purposes, including evading financial liabilities or concealing funds, according to Investopedia.

Shell corporations serve as a common tool utilized by a variety of entities, including well-known public corporations, unscrupulous business operators, and private individuals. One prominent motive for domestic companies to establish shell entities is to exploit foreign tax havens by opting to offshore jobs and profits, capitalizing on more lenient tax regulations abroad.

While legitimate purposes exist for forming shell corporations, some affluent individuals exploit them for personal financial gain. Wealthy individuals sometimes establish shell companies in foreign locations such as the Cayman Islands, navigating a legal gray area of tax avoidance. Through these shell entities, they divert income in a manner that avoids inclusion in their personal earnings, effectively evading a portion of their tax obligations.

Financial expert Andy Chang, founder and CEO of The Credit Review, told Finurah, “A shell company is a corporate entity created to hold funds and manage the financial transactions of another entity. They’re not inherently illegal, but due to their capacity to conceal ownership and financial transactions, they can be exploited for illicit activities, such as money laundering or tax evasion.”

He continued, “To further illustrate, if an individual doesn’t want to directly engage in a business transaction or wants to shield their earnings, they might utilize a shell company as a ‘middleman.’ However, it’s important to note that there are legal uses for shell companies too, such as safeguarding a company’s assets or conducting business in different jurisdictions. While in the case of Kevin Hart’s lawsuit, if the claim is accurate, the shell companies would have been potentially utilized to shield earnings from the litigation. The complexity of such cases underscores the need for transparency in corporate dealings.”

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