The Pandora Papers reveals how unusual offshore finance and secret money have infiltrated global politics. Some of the people named in the newspapers are prominent political leaders of developing or poor countries such as Jordan and Kenya.
Who are the heads of state, billionaires and public officials from all corners of the world, the names mentioned in the articles. Here are the five biggest takeaways from the series.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan
The Panama Papers ended the tenure of former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Former cricket star Imran Khan protested against Sharif and was elected prime minister in 2018 on equity and anti-corruption platform.
Khan responded to the inquiry on Twitter on Sunday.
“My [government] Pandora will check all our citizens mentioned in the letters [and] If any discrepancy is found, we will take appropriate action. I call on the international community to equate this grave injustice with the climate change crisis.”
King Abdullah II of Jordan
The ICIJ said King Abdullah II purchased 14 homes valued at more than $106 million through front companies registered in tax havens in the United Kingdom and the United States. Properties include apartments in central London and Washington, DC, according to the group.
According to the ICIJ, accountants and lawyers in Switzerland and the British Virgin Islands formed shell companies on King’s behalf and planned to protect his name from public view.
Although owning offshore accounts is not illegal, Jordan is one of the poorest Arab countries and relies heavily on international aid. According to the ICIJ report, most of the deals happened after the Arab Spring in 2011.
Quincy Institute Middle East expert Anneelle Schelin told ICIJ, “If the Emperor of Jordan displayed his wealth more publicly, it would not only antagonize his people, but would also anger Western donors who gave him money.” Is.” .
Jordan’s Royal Hashemite Court said in a statement that the report “contains inaccuracies and distorted facts.”
“It is no secret that Her Majesty owns several apartments and residences in the United States and the United Kingdom. This is not unusual or unreasonable,” the court said in its statement.
The property is used by the king and members of his family to stay during private visits and is therefore not publicized for security reasons, not to hide property.
The cost of maintaining these properties is “personally funded by Her Majesty,” the statement said, adding that “none of these expenses have been funded by the state budget or the Treasury.”
“Any allegation that links these private assets to public funds or aid is baseless and willfully attempts to distort facts,” the statement said.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta
According to the ICIJ, the family of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has been accumulating assets in an offshore tax haven for decades. The ICIJ said the Pandora Papers show family ownership of at least seven entities located in the British Virgin Islands and Panama, two well-known tax havens.
ICIJ reported that offshore businesses have assets of more than $30 million. Kenyatta, who has vowed to fight corruption in his country, is the son of Kenya’s first president since independence.
According to the ICIJ report, most of the family companies were formed before Kenyatta was elected president, and documents show that some remained active after he took office.
According to the BBC report, there is no evidence in the Pandora Papers that the Kenyatta family stole or concealed state assets in their offshore companies. Kenyatta and his family members did not respond to ICIJ’s requests for comment.
Kenyatta told CNN he would “comprehensively respond” to the Pandora Papers once he returns from overseas travel.
“These reports will go a long way in increasing the financial transparency and openness that we need in Kenya and around the world. Illicit money movements, crime proceeds and corruption thrive in an environment of secrecy and darkness,” he said. to a spokesperson.
“The Pandora Papers and subsequent audits will remove the veil of secrecy and darkness for those who cannot explain their wealth or wealth,” he said.
Czech Prime Minister Lady Babiso
The ICIJ report claims that the populist prime minister of the Czech Republic, before entering politics, secretly transferred $22 million through offshore companies to buy a property on the French Riviera in 2009.
Babis, a businessman who is worth about $3.4 billion, has vowed to crack down on tax avoidance since becoming prime minister in 2017, according to Bloomberg.
Asset declaration forms obtained by ICIJ’s Czech partner, Investigace.cz, show that neither the chateau asset nor the companies involved in its ownership appear in the documents Babis filed since entering politics Is. According to ICIJ and Investigace.cz, these disclosures were required by Czech law.
The ICIJ report was released a few days before the parliamentary election in the Czech Republic. Babis responded on Twitter on Sunday.
“So, here it is. I was waiting what they would do to harm me and influence the Czech elections, right before the election. There is no case that they pull against me when I am in politics. can,” he said.
“I have never done anything illegal or bad, but that doesn’t stop them from trying to defame me again and influence Czech parliamentary elections,” Babis said.
Babis did not respond to ICIJ’s requests for comment.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair
The BBC reported that former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie Blair avoided paying £312,000 ($423,000) in stamp duty – a tax on the purchase of property – when they bought a townhouse in London, the BBC reported. Told. The building now houses the law firm of Cherie Blair.
Blairs set up a UK company to buy the offshore firm. It was legal to do so, but according to the BBC, it allowed them to avoid paying stamp duty, as the company that owned the property is not taxed when it is acquired.
“It is not unusual for sellers of a commercial office building or such property in a corporate vehicle to dispose of the property separately,” Cherie Blair told the BBC.
According to the BBC, Cherie Blair also stated that her husband’s sole involvement in the transaction was that the mortgage for the property used up their combined income and capital.
“All arrangements were made for the express purpose of bringing the company and building back into the UK tax and regulatory regime, where it has remained since. All taxes have since been paid and all accounts openly under law. According to The Guardian, Cheri Blair said.
– Bethlehem Feleke and Tomas Etzler contributed reporting.