PANDORA PAPERS

Here is a selection of some of the reactions to yesterday’s announcement.

PANAMA’S REACTION

https://www.prensa.com/

PANAMA: 3 FORMER PRESIDENTS NAMED IN “PANDORA PAPERS” PROBE

On 3 October, Newsroom Panama reported that Ernesto Pérez Balladares (1994-1999), Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014) and Juan Carlos Varela (2014-2019) were among the names highlighted by the leak.  The Panama government is said to fear that the disclosure of documents linked to alleged secret accounts linked to local firms will further affect the reputation of the country.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/three-former-presidents-named-in-pandora-papers-probe

LEAKED DOCUMENTS EXPOSE LIE AT HEART OF CONVICTED COSMETICS FRAUDSTER’S COURT DEFENCE

On 4 October, OCCRP reported that a Slovenian businessman, Marko Glinšek, was convicted last year of deceiving customers.  Slovenia’s national tax office said he had also dodged at least €368,000 in taxes by faking invoices.  He fought back in court by arguing that his Slovenian company was merely a distributor of the cosmetics, and that he shouldn’t have been liable for sales taxes — or responsible for the standard of the products.  He also claimed that a UK subsidiary invoiced customers on behalf of this same Seychelles company, which received all profits.  Now the Pandora Papers leak reveal that Glinšek himself started the company in the Seychelles, and had full control of the company.  He is also reportedly suspected by both Slovenian and Bosnian authorities of leading an international money laundering network that stretches across at least 4 EU countries and Bosnia.

https://www.occrp.org/en/the-pandora-papers/leaked-documents-expose-lie-at-heart-of-convicted-cosmetics-fraudsters-court-defense

BUSINESSMAN LINKED TO TORY DONATIONS MADE MILLIONS FROM ALLEGED FRAUD

On 4 October, the BBC reported that a businessman whose companies have backed 34 Tory MPs made millions from an allegedly corrupt Russian pipeline deal.  Former oil executive Victor Fedotov owns a company currently seeking UK government approval for a controversial energy link between the UK and France.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-58791274

UK: A MAJOR CONSERVATIVE PARTY DONOR IS AMONG DOZENS OF THE WORLD’S RICHEST AND MOST POWERFUL PEOPLE TO HAVE AMASSED MILLIONS IN SECRET OFFSHORE ASSETS

On 4 October, i News reported that Mohamed Amersi, who funded Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign, was allegedly involved in one of Europe’s biggest corruption scandals after a controversial £162 million payment to a secretive offshore company in 2010.  Amersi, 61, a corporate lawyer who has donated nearly £525,000 to the Tories since 2018, advised a Swedish telecoms company on a complex transaction that was later fined in the US, after it was accepted as a “corrupt payment”.

https://inews.co.uk/news/world/pandora-papers-leak-list-names-secret-property-financial-secrets-exposed-1230467

LEBANON PM MIKATI AMONG OFFICIALS NAMED IN PANDORA PAPERS

On 4 October, Al Jazeera reported that Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh are among several Lebanese political and financial officials named.  Mikati, the recently reappointed billionaire prime minister of Lebanon, owns a Panama-based offshore company he used to buy property in Monaco worth $10 million, and his son Maher owns at least 2 companies in the BVI.  Other Lebanese officials listed as wholly or partially owning offshore companies include Mikati’s predecessor Hassan Diab, businessman and former MP Neemat Frem, and Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer of Bank Audi Ibrahim Debs.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/10/4/lebanese-prime-minister-among-officials-listed-in-pandora-papers

PRESTIGIOUS PANAMA LAW FIRM HEAVILY IMPLICATED IN ‘PANDORA PAPERS’ REVELATIONS

On 4 October, Fin24 and others reported that Aleman, Cordero, Galindo & Lee (Alcogal), was involved in creating shell companies to move money for Jordanian King Abdullah II, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, Montenegro President Milo Djukanovic and 3 former presidents from Panama.

https://www.news24.com/fin24/economy/prestigious-panama-law-firm-heavily-implicated-in-pandora-papers-revelations-20211004

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

HOW AN ASIAN SPECIALIST FIRM HELPED ZIMBABWEAN BUSINESSMAN AND ZANU-PF ALLY BILLY RAUTENBACH AND HIS FAMILY CREATE A COMPLEX OFFSHORE TRUST FUND WHILE HE WAS STILL UNDER US SANCTIONS

On 3 October, Fin24 reported that the process was pursued under the banner of a marriage settlement and now places the ultimate ownership of the funds in the Cook Islands.  The article says that in 2013, Muller Conrad “Billy” Rautenbach, donated multimillion-dollar financial investments in his coal and ethanol businesses to his wife – Jenny Lynn Rautenbach, who also uses her maiden name Noon.  However, it is said that Rautenbach, who was under US sanctions at the time, was still in control.  The US called him one of Mugabe’s “cronies” and accused him of providing “support to senior regime officials during Zimbabwe’s intervention in the Democratic Republic of the Congo”.

https://www.news24.com/fin24/economy/pandora-papers-inside-zimbabwean-tycoon-billy-rautenbachs-offshore-family-trust-20211004

FINNISH CRIMINALS IDENTIFIED IN PANDORA PAPERS DATA LEAK

On 4 October, YLE reported that more than 200 Finnish citizens were named in the data leak, 20 of whom have criminal convictions.

https://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/finnish_criminals_identified_in_pandora_papers_data_leak/12127181

PANDORA PAPERS REVEAL ARTWORLD MONEY LAUNDERING

On 4 October, Artlyst reported that the leaks highlight wealthy corporations and individuals using shell companies and trusts to hide assets ranging from art and antiquities to yachts and property portfolios.  It mentions an accused US antiquities dealer, linked to looted Cambodian artefacts and how his family set up trusts in tax havens shortly after US investigators linked him to stolen Cambodian artefacts. 

https://www.artlyst.com/news/pandora-papers-reveal-artworld-money-laundering-connections-windrush-sculpture-unveiled-las-academy-museum-opens/

A MEGA-WEALTHY MAN FROM HAITI — AND HIS MIAMI PALACE

On 4 October, the Miami Herald reported on Gilbert Bigio, 86, described as a well-known power broker in Haiti.  With his 48-year-old son Reuven, he controls the GB Group, which he founded in 1972. The conglomerate’s reach extends to the entire Haitian economy, from providing construction supplies and fuel to offering household necessities like cooking oil and food. He has branched out as well into the Dominican side of Hispaniola.

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/haiti/article254361683.html

AZERBAIJAN’S RULING ALIYEV FAMILY AND THEIR ASSOCIATES ACQUIRED DOZENS OF PRIME LONDON PROPERTIES WORTH NEARLY $700 MILLION

On 3 October, OCCRP published an article about a vast network of offshore companies, administered by service provider Trident Trust and fronted by a small group of trusted cronies, helped the Aliyevs secretly own vast real estate holdings in London, aided by family trusts established in the Isle of Man.

https://www.occrp.org/en/the-pandora-papers/azerbaijans-ruling-aliyev-family-and-their-associates-acquired-dozens-of-prime-london-properties-worth-nearly-700-million

2 ROMANIAN POLITICIANS AND 100 NATIONALS APPEAR IN PANDORA PAPERS

On 4 October, Universul released a video report saying that 100 Romanian citizens also appear in the latest leak; ‘Romania’ appears more than 21,000 times; and it is said to reveal even more connections to Romania, including billionaire Frank Timis, who was connected to the controversial Rosia Montana gold mining project.

https://universul.net/video-two-romanian-politicians-100-nationals-appear-in-pandora-papers-rise-project

PANAMA LAW FIRM IS KEY PLAYER IN SHIELDING ASSETS OF THE RICH AND POWERFUL,

On 4 October, Cuenca High Life in Ecuador provided an Ecuadorian take on the leaks and linked to a prestigious Panamanian law firm named in the “Pandora Papers”.  It mentions Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso, former President Lenin Moreno and a Honduran presidential candidate.

https://cuencahighlife.com/panama-law-firm-is-key-player-in-concealing-assets-of-the-rich-and-powerful-including-lenin-moreno

3 GIBRALTAR-REGISTERED COMPANIES AMONG THOSE IDENTIFIED IN PANDORA PAPERS LEAK

On 4 October, GBC reported that the companies are Gibraltar-registered company Takilant Limited, which was under the control of Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of the President of Uzbekistan; and the 2 other Gibraltar companies are linked to the former Minister of Mauritania, Mohamed Abdellahi Ould Yaha – MTO Oil and Bunkering Limited and Oil and Gas Services MSGBC.

https://www.gbc.gi/news/three-gibraltar-registered-companies-among-those-identified-pandora-papers-leak

PANDORA LEAK AGAIN BRINGS UP A FAMILIAR RUSSIAN NAME: ROSTEC CEO SERGEI CHEMEZOV

On 4 October, Rferl reported that Sergei Chemezov has featured prominently in a growing number of far more recent reports pointing to potential corruption.  In the latest leaks, Chemezov’s stepdaughter, Anastasia Ignatova, is said to own an offshore company that, in turn, owns a luxury yacht worth about $140 million; and also tied Chemezov’s relatives and associates to several more luxury villas in Spain.  In all, the journalists estimated the foreign property tied to Chemezov by the Pandora leak to be worth about $302 million.

https://www.rferl.org/a/pandora-putin-chemezov-offshore-corruption/31492594.html

A TALE OF 2 BROTHERS AND A CROATIAN ISLAND

An article from OCCRP on 4 October says that Croatians had been in the dark about who owns a major company called Jadranka, the leading tourism developer on the Adriatic island.  New documents reveal it to be controlled by the family of Mihajlo Perenčević, president of the Russian pipeline constructor Velesstroy.

https://www.occrp.org/en/the-pandora-papers/a-tale-of-two-brothers-and-a-croatian-island

PANDORA PAPERS REVEAL EVIDENCE OF THE HIDDEN RICHES OF POST-SOVIET ELITES

On 4 October, Rferl released this short video.

https://www.rferl.org/a/pandora-russia-ukraine-azerbaijan-kazakhstan/31492472.html

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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

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