'In the Cayman Islands, There Is a Modest Five-Story Building That...

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Figures in an Imgur post about a Cayman Islands tax shelter housing 18,857 companies have circulated for quite a while.
Claim "In the Cayman Islands, there is a modest five-story building that is home to 18,857 companies."

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AdvertisementsOn July 16 2021, an Imgur user shared a Bernie Sanders quote meme which alleged that a "modest building" in the Cayman Islands was the address for "18,857 companies":

Text on the meme attributed its creation to "Ro Khanna Democrat for Congress," and the wording was almost identical to a March 6 2020 tweet by Sen. Bernie Sanders:

In the Cayman Islands, there is a modest five-story building that is home to 18,857 companies. Either this is one very crowded building, or it is a phony address, used by 18,000-plus corporations for one purpose: to avoid paying taxes to the United States of America.

Neither the meme nor the tweet included a source for that highly specific figure of 18,857 companies purportedly headquartered in "a modest five-story building" offshore in the Cayman Islands. However, a search indicated the figure had not only been around a lot, but that it went back for years.

So old was the figure in fact that many early iterations referencing 18,857 companies in a single building in the Cayman Islands were archived links. One was a May 6 2009 aggregated Bloomberg item, in which the figure of 18,857 appeared in the headline but not the body:

One five-story building in the Cayman Islands – 18,857 head offices […] 378 Number of U.S. publicly traded companies that had at least one significant subsidiary in the Cayman Islands as of November, 2007, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). Altria, Tyco, Coke and Oracle still have subsidiaries in the Caymans, according to their most recent SEC filings. 10 At least 10 of the 30 companies listed in the Dow Jones Industrial Average have had units with addresses in the Caymans. Maples and Calder The Cayman Island law firm, which provides services for the corporations that use its address, has incorporated more than 6,000 new companies over…
Kim LaCapria
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