A consortium of international journalists has reportedly got access to highly classified documents which contain sensitive data pertaining to 14 different financial and legal firms. This has revealed that a number of major political leaders from various countries are holding billions of offshore financial assets, these politicians include dozens of current and former world leaders besides hundreds of other politicians from the middle east to central America. There are around 11.9 million confidential documents which are being quoted by many as “Pandora Papers”.
These Pandora Papers, according to the investigators, provide “a close look at an industrial setup which helps major world leaders and ultra-rich private parties alongside government officials and other elites to conceal trillions of dollars in the form of properties and other assets”. These tactics help the elites to evade tax authorities and prosecutors thus strengthening them financially without risking their political image and goodwill.
Movement of money in form of offshore accounts in mostly low-tax jurisdictions isn’t considered illegal in most countries and many of those involved in this massive data leak weren’t ever accused of any sort of criminal activity. The journalist body has also revealed that the leaked papers make up a total of 2.94 terabytes of financial and legal Data which makes this leakage even larger than that of 2016’s famous Panama Papers release. This leak indicates that offshore money fabricators operate in all corners of the world and are having a well established network spanning over both the developed as well as developing countries. The leak also points out an involvement of many prominent banking sector firms and legal units.
Here we mention some of the Biggest Revelations:
French Riviera Estate
Andrej Babis, Czech Republic’s current Prime Minister who is now running for re-election had reportedly moved $22 million through offshore corporate bodies in order to buy a luxurious estate on the French Riviera back in 2009 while keeping his ownership classified. The “Chateau Bigaud , which is owned by one of Babis’s own Czech corporate company’s subsidiary firm, the Chateau Bigaud is located in a hilltop village and is spread across 9.4 acres of land. This hilltop village is recognised as the place where renowned Spanish artist Pablo Picasso spent the last few years of his life.
UK’s Tony Blair and his Property Purchases
The documents reveal that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife accumulated around $422,000 by using an offshore corporation to purchase a London based $9 million office. According to the Guardian’s Report the office was partially owned by a Bahraini Minister’s Family, Though the papers specified that this wasn’t any illegal purchase but it signals that there exists a loophole wherein wealthy politicians refrain from paying taxes which is a common practice for ordinary British citizens.
Pakistan’s Influential Politicians
The reports reveal that Several Ministers from Pakistani PM Imran Khan’s Tahreek-e-insaaf party “secretly owned many companies and trusts ,these units hold assets worth millions of Dollars. Surprisingly Imran Khan’s Tahreek-e-insaaf is depicted in Pakistan as a major anti-corruption political party that aims to eliminate earlier well established and so called corrupt political parties, but these papers reveal a different story.
King of Jordan’s Real Estate Stockpile
Jordan’s incumbent monarch King Abdullah the 2nd had used a Switzerland based British accountant and some lawyers in the British virgin islands to purchase 14 luxury homes for $106 million which includes a $23 Million Home overlooking a beach in California. The ICIJ further stated that the Monarch’s financial actions weren’t supposed to be as such since his country relies on Foreign Aid and is often faced with International conflicts and refugee crisis.
Putin’s inner circle
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s alleged lover and former Deputy Mayor of St Petersburg, Svetlana Krivonogikh had bought a luxurious fourth-floor flat, two parking spaces, a storeroom and the use of a pool situated in the Monte Carlo Star complex. The transaction had reportedly taken place in pretext of an offshore company listed in the British Virgin Islands. Russian media houses have claimed in the past that Krivonogikh and Putin were having special relationships and thus the Pandora Papers eventually dragged Vladimir Putin into the controversy.