Political leaders and governments around the world reject links to hidden wealth. The information was revealed by the massive leak “Pandora’s Leaves”.
The leak, which was published recently, covers at least 12 million documents obtained by the international press network ICIJ.
The leak mentions about 35 sitting and former heads of state. The charges range from everything from corruption and money laundering to tax evasion.
my knowledge: These are Pandora’s papers
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists found links between nearly 1,000 companies in foreign tax havens and 336 politicians and high-ranking officials, including a number of government officials, ambassadors and diplomats.
In most countries, investing in assets abroad through so-called straw companies is not directly illegal. However, the revealed information is embarrassing and causes headaches for leaders who have long faced the battle against corruption in their home countries.
Real estate and tax havens
Russian President Vladimir Putin was not specifically mentioned in the leaks, but he is still linked, among other things, to property in Monaco, acquired by a Russian woman who allegedly had a child with him.
– These are just a set of largely unfounded allegations. “We haven’t seen anything about hidden values in Putin’s inner circle,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
The documents also mention Jordan’s King Abdullah and how he created a network of foreign companies and tax havens to manage properties from California to London worth about NOK 850 million.
The Royal Jordanian House indicates that the property was financed by the king’s personal wealth, and that it was used for official and private visits. The Royal House claims that allegations linking the property to public funds are unfounded.
A magnet for the rich and powerful
Another head of state mentioned in the leaks is Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, who faces important elections in his homeland this weekend.
According to the documents, he failed to disclose a foreign investment company that was used to purchase a mansion in southern France with a value of close to 200 million crowns.
“I did nothing illegal or wrong,” Babis wrote in a Twitter post, claiming that the leaks are a campaign aimed at influencing the Czech elections.
More than two-thirds of the companies covered by the spill were set up in the British Virgin Islands.
Nearly two million documents come from Panama-based law firm Alcogal, a firm that the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists says has become a “magnet for the rich and powerful” who want to hide values abroad.
Alcogal, which includes both the Jordanian royal family and the Czech prime minister on its client list, has denied all allegations of their involvement in suspicious business.
Also, the inner circle of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran was implicated in the leak, and Khan promised to “take necessary measures” if wrongdoing is proven.
In addition, Colombian singer Shakira and German model Claudia Schiffer are mentioned. Their spokesmen say all investments were of a legal nature.
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