The Pandora Papers open the box of secret investments of politicians and celebrities

Pnadora Papers Money Bombshell
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The Pandora Papers investigation has revealed ties to 35 political leaders, including the current Presidents of Chile, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic, the President of Kenya, the King of Jordan, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, as well as billionaires. , with companies that use tax havens.

The investigation, carried out by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and a team of 150 media outlets – including the Turkish DW newsroom – also found that 330 public officials from around the world have ties to accounts in tax havens.

Ministers, former ministers and even a head of tax collection

The former president and foreign minister of Colombia, as well as the transport minister of the same Latin American country, but also the finance ministers of Pakistan, the Netherlands and Brazil have ties with companies in tax havens, as do the former finance ministers of Malta and France, including the former head of the International Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Various former presidents of Latin America and / or their advisers are involved in the scandal. In the case of Colombia, there is even the director of the tax collection office (Dian).

According to the ICIJ, the Pandora Papers show that power actors who could help end the tax haven system are profiting from it, storing assets in companies and undercover trusts, while their governments do little to stem a worldwide flow of tax havens. illicit money that enriches criminals and impoverishes nations.

European elite uncovered

Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has spoken out against tax evasion for decades, but leaks reveal that he and his wife were able to own an $8.8 million building when they bought an offshore real estate company from the family of Bahrain’s Minister of Industry and Tourism, Zayed bin Rashid al-Zayani.

Furthermore, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, a billionaire who came to power in 2017 promising to end corruption, is also named in the “Pandora Papers.” Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky also owned a stake in a shell company registered in the British Virgin Islands.

The Kenyan president, who hails from one of Kenya’s best-known political dynasties, had campaigned with an anti-corruption platform and called for transparency in politics. But leaked records show that Kenyatta and her mother are beneficiaries of a secret foundation in Panama.

Arab royalty under the magnifying glass

The Pandora Papers reveal the true owners of more than 29,000 offshore companies. Some of these companies are used to hide incognito bank accounts, private jets, yachts, mansions, and works of art from the likes of Picasso and Banksy.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II bought three beachfront mansions for a total of $ 68 million in Malibu through offshore companies amid the Arab Spring, when Jordanians filled the streets to protest corruption and unemployment .

The secret documents have also unmasked Moroccan princess Lalla Hasnaa as the owner of a shell company that bought an 11 million dollar house in London near Kensington Palace. Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Emir of Dubai, was a shareholder in three companies registered in secret jurisdictions.

The Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, continues to use offshore companies to make investments, manage his wealth and safeguard it for the benefit of his family. The Panama Papers already revealed that his $ 300 million superyacht was managed by offshore companies.

Pop stars and sports

Colombian singer Shakira and former cricket superstar, Indian Sachin Tendulkar, are other figures linked to assets in tax havens. More than 130 other celebrities from Turkey, Russia, India, the United States, Mexico and other nations have ties to offshore accounts.

Turkish billionaire and construction magnate Erman Ilicak had ties to two offshore companies, both in his mother’s name in 2014. Both had assets from the family’s construction conglomerate. The money was kept in a Swiss account.

The Turkish magnate’s company, Ronesans Holding, was responsible for the construction of the highly controversial 1,150-room presidential palace for his country’s leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Why are tax havens a problem?

Owning offshore companies and conducting financial transactions through these tax havens is legal in some countries, but the practice is under scrutiny.

People who use these companies say they are necessary to run their businesses. However, critics say tax havens and offshore operations need to be watched more closely to fight corruption, money laundering and global inequality.

According to Gabriel Zucman, professor of economics at the University of Berkeley (California), the equivalent of 10% of world GDP is in tax havens. Lakshmi Kumar, director of Global Financial Integrity, told ICIJ that when the rich hide and evade taxes, it “affects people’s access to education, healthcare and housing.”