World leaders, politicians and pop stars are among thousands of individuals who have been found to be hiding huge wealth through a network of anonymous companies.
The documents, known as the Pandora Papers and published Sunday, are part of a leak of nearly 12 million files from the archives of several law firms, shedding light on the secret world of offshore finance. These are being analyzed by a team of more than 600 journalists.
Among the most shocking revelations in the Pandora Papers is the hidden assets of Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev and his family. Leaks show that Aliyev and his associates traded assets worth $544 million in the UK over the past 15 years.
Rachel Davis Teka, head of advocacy at anti-corruption campaign group Transparency International UK, said: “Since this family took power in 1993, they have taken control of many of the country’s important industries and its natural resources and used it to raise funds. done for.” . “And it’s being done at the expense of the people of that country. There are people who are suffering because their leaders are taking resources that should be shared among the citizens of those countries,” Davis Teka told VOA.
property kingdom of the king of jordan
Leaked documents reveal that Jordan’s King Abdullah II has a secret property empire in the United States and Britain, valued at more than $100 million, using unnamed offshore companies involved in the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. In a statement, Jordan’s royal palace said the foreign assets were not disclosed for security and privacy reasons, adding that they were purchased using the monarch’s personal assets.
During a meeting with tribal elders on Monday, Abdullah rubbished allegations that he had tried to hide his wealth. “Unfortunately, there is a campaign against Jordan; there are still people who want to sow discord and create suspicion between us. I have nothing to hide from anyone, but we are stronger than this, and this is the first time Not when Jordan gets targeted,” King said.
Pakistani cabinet ministers and their families, including close aides of Prime Minister Imran Khan, are learned to be the owners of foreign companies worth millions of dollars. Khan said that it will be investigated.
The Czech prime minister, Lady Babi, the country’s second-richest person, used unnamed offshore companies to finance the purchase of a $1.8 million property in France. Babik is contesting the general election this week. In a televised debate with rival candidates, he defended his actions.
“The money was sent from the check bank. The money was taxed. It was my money and it came back to the Czech Republic,” he told television viewers in Prague on Sunday.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and six members of his family are linked to more than a dozen offshore companies, one of which has assets of at least $30 million. There is no evidence that the Kenyatta family stole any government property.
In a statement issued by the President’s office, Kenyatta welcomed the publication of the Pandora Papers.
“These reports will go a long way in increasing the financial transparency and openness that we need in Kenya and around the world. The proceeds of illicit money movement, crime and corruption thrive in an environment of secrecy and darkness. The Pandora Papers and its follow-up The audit will remove the veil of secrecy and darkness for those who cannot interpret their assets or money,” the statement read.
Music stars including Shakira and Elton John and Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar have also revealed they set up offshore companies. There is no suggestion of wrongdoing in relation to any of their financial activities.
Much of the activity disclosed by the Pandora Papers is legal, including the use of offshore companies. Davis Teka argues that governments should do more to reveal hidden assets.
He told VOA, “This investigation and what these journalists have uncovered is important because, unfortunately, governments, especially in the West, are not doing enough to bring transparency, where all this money is going.” Where this money is being hidden.”
One thread that is common to many revelations is London. The capital and its associated British Overseas Territories, such as the British Virgin Islands, offer a hidden network of legal structures designed to hide who really owns the money, says Davis Teka.
“You can buy property anonymously if you use a company registered and formed in a foreign territory where there is currently privacy. We also have luxury services for the global elite, and unfortunately, we have professionals, accountants There is a related amount of lawyers, property agents who are happy to help corrupt and criminal actors hide and manage their money.”
The British government has put forward legislation to prevent individuals from using offshore companies to hide ownership. Davis Teka said, “However, for three years now they have been hesitant to put this law in Parliament and actually pass it, which raises the question of how serious they are actually dealing with this problem. ”
Britain’s ruling Conservative Party has been embroiled in allegations as leaks revealed party donors were linked to alleged corruption. Speaking on Monday at the start of the week-long Conservative Party convention, Prime Minister Boris Johnson dismissed allegations that his party had accepted corrupt money.
“All I can say on that is that all these donations are checked in the normal way,” he told reporters.
British Chancellor Rishi Sunak denied that London’s reputation on tax avoidance was “shameful” and said the government had a strong track record in tackling global corruption.