PANDORA PAPERS: BIGGEST DOCUMENT LEAK YET REVEALS SECRETS OF HOW POWERFUL STASH THEIR CASH

On 3 October, various media reported more than 12 million documents, which were leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).  It involves leaks from 14 different corporations involving 12 million documents that it has taken 600 journalists a year to sift through.  Some 35 current and former leaders are featured in the latest vast trove of documents.  ICIJ found links between almost 1,000 companies in offshore havens and 336 high-level politicians and public officials, including more than a dozen serving heads of state and government, country leaders, cabinet ministers, ambassadors and others; with more than two-thirds of the companies set up in the BVI.  The documents are drawn from financial services companies in countries including the BVI, Panama, Belize, Cyprus, UAE, Singapore and Switzerland.  It is said that more than 100 billionaires feature in the leaked data, as well as celebrities, rock stars and business leaders.  Many used shell companies to hold luxury items such as property and yachts, as well as incognito bank accounts.  There is even art ranging from looted Cambodian antiquities to paintings by Picasso and murals by Banksy.  The leaked records also illustrate the central coordinating role London plays in the murky offshore world – with it being home to wealth managers, law firms, company formation agents and accountants, and all exist to serve their ultra-rich clients.  The Guardian points out that some clients of Mossack Fonseca, the now defunct law firm at the heart of the 2016 Panama papers disclosures, simply transferred their companies to rival providers such as another global trust and corporate administrator with a major office in London, whose data is in the new trove of leaked files.  It is notable, perhaps, that after the Panama Papers, the ICIJ carries a lengthy article about another law firm in Panama in the light of the latest leak.

Allegations included –

  • a claim Czech prime minister Andrej Babis used offshore companies to buy a $22 million chateau in the French Riviera with 2 swimming pools and a cinema;
  • Tony and Cherie Blair allegedly avoided paying £312,000 in tax on the purchase of a London property by acquiring an offshore company;
  • how Jordan’s King Abdullah II created a network of offshore companies and tax havens to amass a $100 million property empire from Malibu, California to Washington and London;
  • family and associates of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev are alleged to have been secretly involved in property deals in the UK worth hundreds of millions – with the Crown Estate reported to have launched an internal review over a £67 million London property it appears to have bought from the multimillionaire ruling family;
  • members of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s inner circle, including cabinet ministers and their families, are said to secretly own companies and trusts holding millions of dollars;
  • Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is alleged, along with several family members, of secretly owning a network of offshore companies;
  • Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky allegedly transferred his stake in a secret offshore company just before he won the 2019 election;
  • disclosures about major donors to the Conservative party in the UK, raising difficult questions for Boris Johnson as his party meets for its annual conference;
  • the president of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, may be asked to explain why a law firm he founded was accused of hiding the assets of a controversial Russian billionaire behind fake company owners; 
  • in the US, it is suggested that the state of South Dakota, in particular, is sheltering billions of dollars in wealth linked to individuals previously accused of serious financial crimes; and
  • the former head of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, apparently channelled several million dollars in consulting fees to a tax-exempt Moroccan company.

Transparency International’s take on the leak –

PANDORA PAPERS LAY BARE BRITAIN’S ROLE AS FACILITATOR OF GLOBAL CORRUPTION

https://www.transparency.org.uk/pandora-papers-latest-news-leak-british-virgin-islands-UK-property

https://www.icij.org/investigations/pandora-papers/about-pandora-papers-investigation

https://www.rte.ie/news/2021/1003/1250499-pandora-papers-published/

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2021/oct/03/pandora-papers-biggest-ever-leak-of-offshore-data-exposes-financial-secrets-of-rich-and-powerful

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2021/oct/03/law-firm-founded-by-cypriot-president-accused-of-hiding-assets-of-russian-exile

https://www.icij.org/investigations/pandora-papers/alcogal-panama-latin-america-politicians/

https://www.thestar.com/news/investigations/2021/10/03/leak-exposes-secret-tax-havens-global-elite.html

BBC: A GUIDE TO 9 YEARS OF LEAKS – PANAMA PAPERS, FINCEN FILES, PARADISE PAPERS, SWISS LEAKS 2015, LUXEMBOURG LEAKS 2014, OFFSHORE LEAKS 2012-13

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-41877932

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s