35 heads of state and government indicted for tax evasion
The Pandora Papers investigation is the world’s largest-ever journalistic collaboration, involving more than 600 journalists from 150 media outlets in 117 countries.
The investigation is based on a leak of confidential records of on some 11.9 million documents from 14 financial services companies and has uncovered more than 29,000 offshore companies providers that give professional services to wealthy individuals and corporations seeking to incorporate shell companies, trusts, foundations and other entities in low- or no-tax jurisdictions.
The records include an unprecedented amount of information on so-called beneficial owners of entities registered in the British Virgin Islands, Seychelles, Hong Kong, Belize, Panama, South Dakota and other secrecy jurisdictions. They also contain information on the shareholders, directors and officers.
About thirty current or past leaders, more than 300 politicians from around the world, as well as stars or criminals were pinned Sunday in a vast journalistic investigation into the opacity of offshore companies. Here are some of the big names mentioned.
Czech billionaire and politician Andrej Babis
Prior to becoming Prime Minister, Czech billionaire Andrej Babis invested $ 22 million in shell companies that were used to finance the purchase of Chateau Bigaud, a large estate in Mougins, southern France. He did not mention them on his heritage statement when he entered politics, according to the Pandora Papers.
The Prime Minister, who is implicated in a case of EU subsidy fraud and conflict of interest, faces parliamentary elections on 8 and 9 October. Assuring not to have committed anything illegal, he denounced Sunday a maneuver intended to “denigrate” before the poll.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former French minister and former managing director of the International Monetary Fund, channeled several million dollars in consulting fees to companies through a tax-exempt Moroccan company, according to documents reviewed by the ‘HERE.
The Blair couple
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie acquired an office building in 2017 by purchasing a company in the Virgin Islands that owned the premises. The transaction saved them around $ 400,000 in taxes, reports ICIJ.
Kenyan President, his mother, brother and sisters
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta made the fight against corruption and transparency in public life a hallmark of his speech. But he and six members of his family, including his mother, a brother and two sisters, have at least $ 30 million in several offshore companies, the consortium writes.
Imran Khan, the herald of the fight against corruption
Imran Khan was elected head of Pakistan in the summer of 2018 on an anti-corruption program after the impeachment of Nawaz Sharif, swept away by the revelations of the “Panama Papers”, another ICIJ investigation into the funds offshore.
According to the consortium, members of his family and his government have millions of dollars in offshore accounts. On Twitter, the prime minister said he would “investigate” all Pakistani citizens mentioned in the “Pandora Papers”.
The entourage of the President of Azerbaijan
Relatives of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev – regularly targeted by corruption charges – carried out opaque real estate deals in the UK, including the $ 45 million purchase of an office building in his son’s name 11-year-old Heyder, reports the BBC.
Shakira and Claudia Schiffer
Colombian singer Shakira and German model Claudia Schiffer also have offshore accounts. According to their agents, this is not tax evasion, the consortium reports.
Mafioso Raffaele Amato
Mafia boss Raffaele Amato, who inspired the film Gomorrah, also used a shell company to buy land in Spain. Linked to numerous murders, he is serving a 20-year prison sentence.
The names of Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Ivorian Prime Minister Patrick Achi, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, as well as people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin have also been mentioned.