Panama Papers: Giant Leak Reveals World Leaders’ Offshore Accounts
The exhaustive list of foreign leaders and famous people exposed in a massive leak of confidential documents held by a Panamanian law firm illuminates a sprawling network of offshore investment accounts often used to make secretive investments and pad luxury lifestyles.
The swath of 11.5 million records — already known as the Panama Papers — made its way into the hands of the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and then the U.S.-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, part of the Center for Public Integrity.
Expensive yachts, luxury homes in London, ownership of a candy company, investments in construction companies are just a sampling of the benefits reaped from these complex financial dealings, many of which may be entirely legal. They reveal the inner workings of the financial lives of those in power across the globe.
Together, the organizations coordinated a massive onslaught of investigative reports on the revelations found in the documents.
The list includes some 140 politicians from more than 50 countries, including 72 current or former heads of state, with links to Panama law firm Mossack Fonesca. The firm could not be reached for comment Monday.
Though experts suspect the network of offshore accounts and complex investment vehicles may have been used for money laundering, sanctions evasion or tax avoidance in some cases, specific legal implications were not immediately clear.
Here is a developing list of famous figures cited in the ICIJ reports and other stories reported by the network of journalists involved in the project:
RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN
Though his name does not appear on any of the records, Putin’s associates are cited frequently as having profited from or participating in a sprawling network of secretive financial dealings.
Among them, according to ICIJ, was world-class cellist Sergei Roldugin, a friend of Putin’s, who was reportedly listed as owner of offshore companies that received tens of millions of dollars in shadowy payments and secured control over a substantial part of Russia’s TV advertising business. ICIJ said “the evidence in the files suggests Roldugin is acting as a front man for a network of Putin loyalists — and perhaps for Putin himself.”
Other Putin associates cited included childhood friends and billionaire brothers Arkadyand Boris Rotenberg, who collectively owned at least seven British Virgin Islands companies that invested in a pipeline construction company and acquired machinery to build a villa in Tuscany, Italy, for Arkady’s son, Igor, as well as other activities.
SYRIAN PRESIDENT BASHAR ASSAD
His two cousins, Rami and Hafez Makhlouf, who have been the target of international sanctions and are suspected of controlling key gateways to Syria’s oil and telecom business, held numerous offshore accounts through which they filtered investments such as telecommunications assets.
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT PETRO POROSHENKO
While Russian troops invaded eastern Ukraine in August 2014, he is accused of having become the sole owner of a British Virgin Islands firm called Prime Asset Partners Limited, set up through Mossack Fonseca as a holding company with assets that include a European candy factory. Before taking office in 2014, Poroshenko’s assets included auto plants, a TV channel, a chocolate business and a shipyard.
SAUDI KING SALMAN BIN ABDULAZIZ BIN ABDULRAHMAN AL SAUD
He held what ICIJ described as an “unspecific role” in a Luxembourg company called Safason Corporation SPF S.A. that owned British Virgin Islands companies that took out $34 million in mortgages for luxury homes in London. He also was the primary user of a yacht named Erga that was held by a British Virgin Islands company.
ARGENTINE PRESIDENT MAURICIO MACRI
While mayor of Buenos Aires, Macri did not disclose his position as a director of Fleg Trading Ltd., which was incorporated in the Bahamas in 1998, according to ICIJ.
Former GEORGIA PRIME MINISTER BIDZINA IVANISHVILI
He owned a British Virgin Islands-based trust called Lynden Management Ltd. that was established by Credit Suisse and came under scrutiny for the murky source of its funds, according to ICIJ.
ICELAND PRIME MINISTER SIGMUNDUR DAVÍÓ GUNNLAUGHSSON
The former journalist and radio host and his wife, Anna Sigurlaug Pálsdóttir, held nearly $4 million in bonds in three Icelandic banks through Wintris Inc., a British Virgin Islands shell company, according to ICIJ. He failed to disclose his 50% stake in Wintris when he took office in 2009 and is said to have sold his share in the company to his wife for a $1 at the end of 2009, according to the report.
FORMER IRAQI INTERIM PRIME MINISTER AYAD ALLAWI
He controlled a Panama-registered company called I.M.F. Holdings and a British Virgin Islands company called Moonlight Estates Limited that each controlled real estate in England, according to ICIJ.
FORMER JORDANIAN PRIME MINISTER ALI ABU AL-RAGHEB
He was a director of multiple British Virgin Islands investment companies, held three companies in Seychelles and had family members serving as board directors of several British Virgin Island entities, according to ICIJ.
FORMER QATARI PRIME MINISTER HAMAD BIN JASSIM BIN JABER AL THANI
He held several investment companies based in Panama, including two he co-owned with then-Qatar Emir Hamad bin Khalifa, and previously held several companies in the Bahamas and British Virgin Islands, including one through which he managed a $300 million yacht named Al Mirqab.
Via USA Today
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