The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists shared 12 million financial records with 150 news organizations to find out how billions of people are hidden from authorities, investigators and the country’s citizens.
Despite Jordan’s high poverty levels and corruption crackdowns targeting citizens using shell companies, advisors to Jordan’s King Abdullah created dozens of shell companies to buy homes worth $106 million.
Today, the Palace of Jordan said the king’s properties were – quoting – “not unusual, nor inappropriate. These properties are not publicized out of security and privacy concerns.”
In Russia, the alleged girlfriend of President Vladimir Putin became the owner of a Monaco apartment through an offshore company. And, in the US, states have passed privacy laws that allow millions of people to avoid viewing.
Joining me to discuss this is Drew Sullivan, co-founder and editor of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.
Drew Sullivan, welcome to “News Hour.”
Your organization worked closely with the International Federation of Investigative Journalists to publish these stories. Why do you think secret offshore accounts are a threat to national security and democracy?
Drew Sullivan, co-founder and editor, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project: Well, really, opaque money is opaque power.
And what these offshore companies really are, they are a tool to move money around the world and keep it secret. And the problem with that is that it could be money that got stolen and it could be money that you’re trying to move somewhere for a business.
But, a lot of times, it’s actually money that people are trying to hide, people are trying to rob. And once that money goes into your country, you don’t know what it’s going to do. This can do something like create a real estate bubble, which is annoying, but not harmful. But it can also fund things like terrorist groups, extremists, political parties, bad actors in your country, terrorists.
So that’s right – in this day and age, we should be able to control the monetization of money in our countries. And we can’t really because of this offshore industry.