Leaked “Pandora” records show how powerful shielded assets work

The new report reveals how world leaders, powerful politicians, millionaires and others have used offshore accounts to protect trillions of dollars worth of assets over the past quarter century. increase.

A report by an international consortium of investigative journalists brought promises of tax reform, resignations and demands for investigation, as well as explanations and denials from targeted people.

The study, called Pandora Papers, was released at the end of Sunday and was attended by 600 journalists from 150 media in 117 countries.

Hundreds of politicians, celebrities, religious leaders, and drug dealers have turned to mansions, beach luxury properties, yachts, and other assets, according to a review of about 12 million files from 14 companies around the world. Is hiding your investment. Many of the activities did not seem to be illegal.

More than 330 current and former politicians identified as secret account beneficiaries include King Abdullah II of Jordan, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Czech Prime Minister Andrei Babish, and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya. Includes Ecuadorian President Guiller Morasso, and both Pakistani companions. Prime Minister Imran Khan and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The millionaires pointed out in the report include Turkish construction tycoon Erman Ilicak and former CEO of software maker Reynolds & Reynolds Robert T. Brockman.

According to reports, many accounts are designed for tax evasion and asset hiding for other reasons. Some of the targeted people strongly denied the claim on Monday.

In response to this exposure, the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union in 27 countries, said it is preparing new legislation to increase tax transparency and strengthen the fight against tax evasion.

Pandora Papers is a follow-up to a similar project released in 2016 called “Panama Papers” edited by the same journalism group.

The latest bombs are even more extensive and rely on data leaked from 14 different service providers doing business in 38 different jurisdictions. Records date back to the 1970s, but most date from 1996 to 2020.

The survey delved into accounts registered in familiar offshore shelters such as the British Virgin Islands, Seychelles, Hong Kong and Belize. However, some secret accounts were scattered in trusts established in the United States, including 81 in South Dakota and 37 in Florida.

According to the survey, the adviser found that King Abdullah of Jordan established at least three dozen shell companies between 1995 and 2017, and the monarch bought 14 homes worth more than $ 106 million in the United States and the United Kingdom. Assisted. One was a $ 23 million California Oceanview property purchased through a British Virgin Islands company in 2017. The adviser was identified as a British accountant in Switzerland and a lawyer in the British Virgin Islands.

Abdullah denied fraud in a comment from the Royal Palace on Monday, citing the security need to keep transactions quiet, stating that public funds were not being used.

Abdullah’s British lawyer said he did not have to pay taxes under his own law and did not abuse public funds. The lawyer also refused to provide details, but said most companies and property had nothing to do with the king or no longer existed.

Blair, the British Prime Minister from 1997 to 2007, acquired a company in the British Virgin Islands in 2017 and became the owner of a $ 8.8 million Victorian building. Today, the building houses the law firm of his wife, Cherie Blair. Research. The two acquired the company from Bahrain’s Minister of Industry and Tourism’s family, Zayed bin Rashid al-Zayani. According to a study, Blairs saved more than $ 400,000 in property taxes by buying shares in the company instead of a building in London.

Both Blairs and Alzayanis said they were initially unaware that the other party was involved in the transaction, the investigation found. Cherie Blair said her husband was not involved in the purchase. “It was intended to bring companies and buildings back to the UK tax and regulatory system,” she said. She also didn’t want to own a company in the British Virgin Islands, and said, “Sellers for their own purposes only wanted to sell the company,” and it’s currently closed.

Alzayanis lawyer said he was in compliance with English law.

The report also analyzed transactions, including the British monarchy.

The British Crown Estate, a real estate business owned by Queen Elizabeth II, is £ 67 million ($ 91 million) in a London building from a company reported to be the front line of Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev’s family. Said to consider purchasing. The Guardian said the transaction raised questions about whether the transaction needed to be investigated for money laundering concerns. Aliev, who has ruled Azerbaijan since 2003, has been accused of corruption and infringement.

Crown Estate said it had been checking before the purchase, but in a question raised, it is now “investigating the problem” again.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Khan, has not been accused of any misconduct. However, according to journalist findings, his inner circle members, including Finance Minister Shokat Faya’s Ahmed Tallinn, have been accused of hiding millions of dollars in secret companies and trusts.

In a Twitter post, Kahn vowed to regain “unearned profits,” and said his government would investigate all the citizens listed in the document and take action if necessary.

The consortium of journalists is Putin’s image maker and chief executive officer of Russia’s leading television station Konstantin Ernst, who oversaw the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Moscow during the Soviet era and around it. He revealed that he received a discount to buy and develop his assets. Ernst told the organization that the deal was not secret and denied the offer of special treatment.

According to a survey, in 2009, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš invested $ 22 million in a shell company to buy real estate in a chateau in a hilltop village in Mougins, France, near Cannes. According to a document obtained by Investigace.cz, a Czech partner of the journalism group, the shell company and the chateau were not disclosed in Bubbis’s required asset declaration.

According to a survey, a real estate group indirectly owned by Bubbis acquired the company of Monaco, which owns the chateau, in 2018.

Bavis denied cheating. He said the report was intended to harm him prior to the Czech parliamentary elections on Friday and Saturday.

The Czech police organized crime unit said it would launch an investigation.

Montenegro President Milo Đukanovich faced a call to resign after being listed as one of the world leaders in hiding his fortune using a secret account. His office denied reports by the local Montenegro network for confirmation of the non-governmental sector claiming that he and his son had established trust to hide their wealth behind a complex corporate network. ..

Michael Liedtke and Jonathan Mattise

Associated Press