Finance

Pandora Papers Reveal Wealth of World Leaders

This is reported by the BBC, among others. For example, the Pandora Papers, named after the well-known box full of surprises, reveal that King Abdullah of Jordan has secretly amassed British and American properties worth more than 81 million euros, mainly in real estate.

They also show how former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife saved more than €364,000 when they bought an office worth €7.53 million through an offshore company.

Putin

The leak also links Russian President Vladimir Putin to secret assets in Monaco. It also shows that Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, who is facing elections later this week, owns an offshore investment company that bought two villas in the south of France worth 14 million euros.

Many of the transactions in the leaked documents do not involve legal violations. But the documents do reveal the owners of 95,000 offshore companies behind those transactions.

Kenya and Iran

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his family are an example of this. The investigation revealed that the Aliyevs and their closest associates had been secretly involved in property transactions in the United Kingdom worth more than €467 million.

Other revelations in the Pandora Papers concern Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, including ministers, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The latter appears to have transferred his interest in a secret offshore company just before he won the 2019 elections.

Hundreds of millions

The investigation of the files was conducted by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), in which more than 650 investigative journalists participate. “There has never been anything of this magnitude,” ICIJ’s Fergus Shiel told the BBC. “It shows the reality of what offshore companies can offer to help people hide untrustworthy money or avoid taxes.”

Shiel added, “They use those offshore accounts, those offshore trusts, to buy hundreds of millions of dollars worth of real estate in other countries and to enrich their own families at the expense of their citizens.”

The Pandora Papers fit into a series of leaks that have become public over the past seven years, following the FinCen Files, the Paradise Papers, the Panama Papers and LuxLeaks. Several international media, including the BBC and The Washington Post, gained access to 12 million documents from 14 financial services companies in the British Virgin Islands, Panama, Belize, Cyprus, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Switzerland, among others. Trouw, Het Financieele Dagblad and research platform Investico also have access to the files.

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