Governments on Monday rallied to limit the damage caused by the release of millions of documents revealing how world leaders, powerful politicians, billionaires and others sought offshore tax havens to hide assets worth millions of dollars. Use places.
About 35 current and former leaders are featured in the nearly 11.9 million documents leaked from financial services companies around the world.Pandora Papers.“.
The documents were obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Ghetto Journalists (ICIJ) and published in the stories of media partners, including the Washington Post, the BBC and The Guardian.
Allegations ranging from corruption Bribery And tax avoidance.
While it is not illegal in most countries to hold assets abroad or use shell companies, the revelations are a disgrace to leaders who have pursued austerity measures or campaigned against them. corruption.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin She has no name but is linked to secret assets in Monaco through associates, most notably a waterfront home owned by a Russian woman who is said to have a child.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it was just a collection of large-scale unsubstantiated claims.
“We haven’t seen anything hidden in Putin’s inner circle.”
Jordan also wanted to reduce the revelations, which revealed how. King Abdullah II. Created a network of offshore companies and Tax shelters From California to London for 100 million property collection.
The country’s royal court said the properties were funded from the king’s personal wealth and used for public and private visits.
The Czech prime minister retaliated.
“Any allegation that links these private properties to public funds or aid is baseless and a deliberate attempt to distort the facts,” the statement said.
The ICIJ found links to about 1,000 companies and 336 high-level politicians and government officials in Offshore Haven, including more than a dozen serving heads of state and government, state leaders, cabinet ministers. , Ambassador and others.
More than two-thirds of companies are based in the British Virgin Islands.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s family and associates – who have long been accused of corruption in the Central Asian country – have reportedly been secretly involved in multi-million dollar property deals in Britain.
And the documents also show how Czech Prime Minister Andrzej Babis – who is facing an election this weekend – failed to announce a foreign investment company based in the south of France. Used to buy a million dollars worth of cheetahs.
“I have never done anything illegal or wrong,” Bobby responded in a tweet, calling the revelations a misguided attempt to influence the election.
Of the 11.9 million documents leaked, nearly two million came from Alcogal, a Panamanian law firm that ICIJ says has become “a magnet for the rich and powerful.” To hide wealth Off noise
Al-Kogul, whose clients allegedly included the Jordanian king and the Czech prime minister, denied the allegations.
“Those who have the best place to stop such practices are the ones who are benefiting the most,” ICIJ director Gerard Royal said in a video with the investigation.
Transparency International’s Maira Martini called for an end to the offshore industry, saying the investigation had once again provided “clear evidence” of how it “promotes corruption and financial crime”.
Other revelations from the ICIJ investigation include:
- Train British Prime Minister Tony Blair. It has been shown that paying stamp duty on property in London has been legally avoided by buying an offshore company owned by it.
- Members of Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan.He is said to be the owner of millions of dollars worth of companies and trusts. Khan vowed to take appropriate action if any wrongdoing was proved.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reportedly transferred his stake in a secret offshore company before winning the 2019 election.
- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has been accused of possessing a network of offshore companies.
- Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguso and Gabon’s Ali Bongo were linked to companies in the British Virgin Islands, according to a report by Le Monde, one of the media partners in the investigation.
- Colombian singer Shakira, German supermodel Claudia Schaefer and Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar are also named, and representatives of all three told ICIJ that the investment is legitimate.
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The “Pandora Papers” are the latest in a series of large-scale leaks handled by ICIJ, ranging from the Lex Lex in 2014 to the Panama Papers in 2016.
They were followed by Paradise Papers in 2017 and FinCen files in 2020.
(France 24 with AFP)