The Pandora Papers are Exposing Corruption of World Leaders

A HUGE hat tip to the investigative journalists over the intensive and dedicated work on exposing tax evaders and money laundering across the globe.The Big Picture: Real estate in some of the world’s most coveted neighborhoods is owned by anonymous companies registered in notoriously secretive jurisdictions, like the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

Behind many of these offshore firms are political elites — including heads of state — who are often trying to avoid taxes or, in some cases, launder money.

?? Dictator’s Family in London: Family and close associates of Azerbaijan’s president — including his teenage children — secretly purchased $700 million worth of London real estate. Read more.

?? Czech PM in France: Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš set up a British Virgin Islands company in 2009 that secretly loaned €15 million to other shell companies he owned in the U.S. and Monaco. The money was eventually used to buy luxury French real estate. Read More.

?? Zelensky’s Offshore Network: Comedian Volodymyr Zelensky, who won Ukraine’s presidency on an anti-corruption platform, was co-owner of an offshore network. Even now, his family appears to still be able to profit from one of the companies. Read More.

?? Russian Money in Croatia: The family of a wealthy Croatian tycoon with ties to Vladimir Putin secretly took over a real estate developer. The family then funnelled suspicious funds from a Russian pipeline company to this real estate firm, using an opaque trust. Read More.

?? Kazakh Oligarchs and a ‘Tokal’: Two oligarchs are linked to $30 million worth of transfers to the alleged unofficial third wife (or tokal) of Kazakhstan’s former president, who remains arguably the most powerful man in the country. Read More.

?? Serbian PEP’s Properties: When our Serbian colleagues reported that Siniša Mali, then the mayor of Belgrade, had bought 24 properties on Bulgaria’s coast, he denied the allegations and offered a challenge: “If you determine I’m the owner of these apartments, they’re all yours…”

Well, the Pandora Papers prove he is the properties’ owner, without a shadow of doubt. We’re still waiting for the keys. Read More.

Other finds in the data: ?? A Slovenian cosmetics fraudster.

PANDORA PAPERS FROM PARTNERS

OCCRP was one of 150 media outlets to investigate leaked documents from 14 service providers. Here are some highlights from our colleagues outside of the OCCRP network. 

?? Tony Blair’s Taxes: Former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife saved hundreds of thousands of pounds in property taxes when acquiring a London office building from an offshore company. Read more in the Guardian.

?? Kenyan Dynasty: The family of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta secretly owned a web of offshore companies in Panama and the BVI. Read more in Finance Uncovered. 

?? Pakistan PM’s Inner Circle: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has surrounded himself with people who have secret holdings hidden offshore. Read more in ICIJ. 

?? King of Jordan in the U.S. and U.K.: Jordan’s long-ruling monarch King Abdullah II has secretly owned 14 luxury homes in the U.K and the U.S., which he purchased through front companies registered in notorious tax havens. Read more in ICIJ.

? Latin American PEPs: One of Central America’s most prestigious law firms, Alcogal, set up offshore companies for 160 politicians and public officials — including some accused of looting their own countries. Read more at ICIJ.

IMPACT & RESPONSES

?? Pakistan: Prime Minister Khan welcomed the Pandora Papers in a tweet, vowing to investigate citizens named in the investigation.

?? Czech Republic: The Czech national police announced they will “act upon” the Pandora Papers’ revelations into the prime minister, who is up for reelection this week.

?? Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka’s anti-corruption commission will reportedly investigate the assets of any politician named in the Pandora Papers, which includes ex-minister Nirupama Rajapaksa.

Find more impact at ICIJ

The U.S. government has long condemned prominent offshore financial centers, where liberal rules and guarantees of discretion have drawn oligarchs, business tycoons and politicians.

But a burgeoning American 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 U.S. states.

Explore the latest stories in our groundbreaking Pandora Papers investigation:

Posted in Biden administration, Brexit European Union, Brussels, Citizens Duty, DOJ, DC and inside the Beltway, European Banks International Monetary Fund, Failed foreign policy, FBI, Gangs and Crimes, government fraud spending collusion, Industry Jobs Oil Economics, IRS White House Collusion, Panama Papers, Presidential campaign, The Denise Simon Experience, Whistleblower.

Denise Simon

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