“Pandora Papers”: Several heads of government questioned for tax evasion

Posted on 3 October 2021 at 8:10 pmUpdated October 3, 2021, 8:48 PM

“Panama Papers”, followed by “Pandora Papers”. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) recently published a new survey revealing that 300 public officials, 35 heads of state, 130 billionaires, use tax havens.

The investigation, to which nearly 600 journalists contributed, is based on 11.9 million documents that come from 14 financial services companies, and uncovered more than 29,000 offshore companies.

According to these documents, several politicians, including the Czech prime minister, the king of Jordan or the presidents of Kenya and Ecuador, have thus hidden assets in offshore companies, particularly for purposes of tax evasion.

The relationship between offshore assets and 336 politicians

By extension, King Abdullah II of Jordan would have created at least thirty offshore companies, i.e. in countries or regions with favorable taxation. Through these entities, he purchased 14 luxury properties in the United States and the United Kingdom for over $106 million.

For the Czech prime minister, Lady Babis, he held $22 million in shell companies, which were used to purchase Chateau Bigaud, a large estate located in Mougins in the south of France.

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso has deposited funds into two trusts headquartered in the United States in South Dakota. While the Kenyan president, a figure in the fight against corruption, owns a secret foundation in Panama that has more than $30 million (26 million euros).

In all, the ICIJ has established links between offshore assets and 336 top executives and politicians who have created nearly 1,000 companies, more than two-thirds of which are in the British Virgin Islands.

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Shakira, Tony Blair, DSK…

Personalities on display include Colombian singer Shakira, German model Claudia Schiffer and Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar.

Also appearing are former British prime minister Tony Blair, who completed the purchase of real estate in London through a company abroad, and former French minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

According to documents reviewed by ICIJ, the former managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) gave several million dollars in consulting fees to companies through a tax-exempt Moroccan company.

No trial to wait in most cases

In most countries, these facts cannot be prosecuted. But in the case of politicians, the ICIJ parallels the anti-corruption speeches conducted by some of them with their investments in tax havens.

Established in 1997 by the American Center for Public Integrity, ICIJ became an independent entity in 2017. Its network includes 280 investigative journalists in more than 100 countries and territories, as well as some 100 media partners.

The ICIJ became known in early April 2016 with the publication of the “Panama Papers”, an investigation based on approximately 11.5 million documents from a Panamanian law firm.

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About the Author: Piers Parker

Alcohol maven. Incurable pop culture specialist. Communicator. Gamer. Certified explorer.

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