Tax haven leaks reveal secret offshore deals by politicians – presidents and heads of government
Five years ago the “Panama Papers” created a sensation. Now follow the “Pandora Papers,” which reveals the involvement of over 330 politicians from 91 countries in offshore trade. These include: Putin’s confidante, the King of Jordan and Claudia Schiffer.
According to an international research network, a massive data leak reveals secret dealings of hundreds of politicians with letterbox companies. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which includes “Sudetsche Zeitung”, published a body of research results on the involvement of more than 330 politicians and officials from 91 countries, such as Czech Prime Minister Ledi Babis, in offshore deals.
About 600 journalists from 117 countries were involved in the evaluation of the so-called Pandora Papers. According to the ICIJ, 11.9 million leaked documents “covering every corner of the world” have been assessed. In Germany, in addition to “Süddeutsche”, the NDR and WDR also participated in the research. According to the media, the data – about three terabytes in total – come from 14 companies that offer offshore construction.
President Zelensky, King of Jordan and Claudia Schiffer get tangled up
The current Czech Prime Minister Babis is said to have bought a country palace in southern France for over 15 million euros, thus largely anonymously. For them, the timing of publication is particularly sensitive as a new parliament will be elected in the Czech Republic next week.
Also Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selinskyj, Russian President Vladimir Putin and many confidants of Jordan’s King Abdullah II are or were customers of “South German” offshore companies. The president of the European Union country of Cyprus, Nikos Anastasiadis, was therefore actively involved in the offshore business with his law firm, which is now run by his daughters.
“SZ” emphasized that doing business in a tax haven is not prohibited and that many of the businesses uncovered in the research appear to be “absolutely legal”. However, it is illegal, for example, if taxable income in a tax haven is not reported to the local tax office.
Several celebrities such as German model Claudia Schiffer, former Beatle Ringo Starr and pop star Shakira also appeared in the research. According to “SZ,” Schiffer and Shakira reported that they complied with all laws and regulations. So Ringo Starr did not respond to requests from reporters.
Even before the publication of the “Pandora Papers”, the government of Panama had warned of serious damage to the country’s image as a result of the “Panama Papers” 2016. At the time, an anonymous whistleblower for the “Sudetsche Zeitung” leaked more than eleven million internal documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. An assessment in collaboration with ICIJ revealed a sophisticated mechanism for global tax avoidance.
Following publication, several politicians, including the then Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlogsson and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, had to resign from their offices. Thousands of preliminary investigations have been launched around the world.
This article has been updated.
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