HOW THE RICH USE OFFSHORE COMPANIES TO BUY HOMES IN SPAIN
On 7 October, El Pais in Spain carried an article saying that the leak shows the key role of tax havens for the wealthy when making property transactions in areas such as the Costa del Sol or Madrid. It uses the example of one villa just north of Marbella’s upscale Puerto Banús in southern Spain. The owner of Villa Hermes is a Maltese company, as revealed in the internal files of Fidelity Corporate Services, one of the 14 offshore service providers at the centre of the Pandora Papers data leak. This company belongs to another company located in the BVI which, in turn, is owned by a businessman Mehran Muslimi, who told the newspaper that he is “active in the blockchain and fintech field” He lives in Dubai and created the company, he says, on the advice of a Spanish lawyer.
FROM SHAKIRA TO JULIO IGLESIAS: THE LIST OF THE MOST FAMOUS SPANISH AND LATINO ARTISTS IN THE PANDORA PAPERS
On 6 October, El Pais carried an article saying that Mexican musician Alejandra Guzmán, Puerto Rican singer Chayanne, Colombian pop star Shakira and Puerto Rican-born Mexican music idol Luis Miguel have more in common than their fame and fortune: they all appear in the Pandora Papers.
BULGARIAN MOGUL AND MOTHER NAMED IN THE PANDORA PAPERS
On 7 October, EurActiv reported that Bulgarian tycoon Delyan Peevski and his mother Irena Krasteva have been named in the Pandora Papers. Peevski, an MP who controls much of the media, is linked to 3 offshore companies not mentioned in in his property declarations. 2 BVI companies became the property of his mother in 2009, and she has not held public office and, unlike her son, has no obligation to fill out a public property declaration.
PANDORA PAPERS LIFT LID ON ERDOĞAN ALLIES’ OFFSHORE MILLIONS
On 7 October, Ahval reported that the leak has lifted the lid on how companies linked to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government use offshore tax havens to channel millions of dollars abroad. Included in the leak is Çalık Holding, one of the fastest-growing companies under AKP rule, with investments in sectors ranging from construction and textiles to finance and media. The Pandora Papers show Çalık Holding operates at least 4 offshore companies in the BVI, with combined assets of tens of millions of dollars. Çalık Holdings is headed by Ahmet Çalık, ranked as Turkey’s fifth-richest person by Forbes magazine .
FAMILY OF TOP AZERBAIJANI POLITICIAN OWNS MILLIONS IN LUXURY REAL ESTATE
An article from OCCRP on 7 October was concerned with assets apparently held by one of the most powerful politicians in his home country of Azerbaijan, former speaker of parliament, or those related to him. An investigation has found that his wife, his elder daughter, and her husband acquired luxurious properties in London, Dubai, and Moscow and, in all but one case, despite their close connection to a senior politician, they did so using their own names. In total, the Asadovs acquired assets worth nearly $10 million over the years, though at least one property has since been sold. The provenance of this fortune raises questions, given the immediate family’s modest known incomes.
FOREIGN MONEY SECRETLY FLOODS US TAX HAVENS. SOME OF IT IS TAINTED
On 4 October, the Washington Post published its take on the leaks, with a focus on what Trident Trust called “The South Dakota Advantage”. It says that among those enticed were a Colombian textile magnate caught in a scheme to launder the proceeds of an international drug ring; an orange juice mogul who settled with authorities in Brazil for allegedly colluding to underpay local farmers; and family members of the former president of a sugar producer in the Dominican Republic that has been accused of exploiting laborers and forcibly evicting families from their homes. It says that a burgeoning US trust industry is increasingly sheltering the assets of international millionaires and billionaires by promising levels of protection and secrecy that rival or surpass those offered in overseas tax havens. That shield, which is near-absolute, has insulated the industry from meaningful oversight and allowed it to forge new footholds in other US states. Other states competing to lure wealth include Alaska, Delaware, Nevada and New Hampshire – while in South Dakota, assets in trusts more than quadrupled over the past decade to $360 billion.
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