In the new show “Person of Interest” one of the main characters is a software industry billionaire that no one has ever heard of…he met another engineer at MIT and made that guy the “front man” for his software empire. The “front man” essentially became a Bill Gates sort of figure in that fictional world, whereas the silent partner is totally unknown.
It never gets into the nitty gritty of how this was done, but it’s basically suggested the “silent-silent partner” has many, many different fully established secret identities. Most likely all of his holdings are divided up into many different difficult to trace holding companies and etc.
Would this ever happen in real life? I doubt it. But I think from a “what is possible” standpoint, that approach is possible. However the premise relied on the secret partner being like “super-software engineer” someone so good that his unique genius was the entire reason for his company’s massive success. That along with their personal friendship is the only reason the front man would have to keep such a secret. Real life geniuses like that are rare or non-existent, and reliable friends aren’t always that common either when you’re talking about money in the billions of dollars.
For reasons further never explained, the secretive character was secretive before ever starting this big software company. So he knew from day one he never wanted his name getting associated with it, so most likely when him and his friend set it up they gave a batch of holding companies and whatnot shares in the corporation, each holding company probably controlled by one of the many false identities this guy had set up (you wouldn’t have them all tied to the same identity or regulators would probably be able to discern that one guy had a substantial controlling interest in the company who was undocumented.)