The Pandora Papers Leak Exposes Secrets of the Rich and Powerful
The Pandora Papers, nearly 12 million financial documents, is one of the largest in history.
Over a single night, the Pandora Papers released by the ICIJ (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists) have revealed the financial information and hidden assets of 35 current + former world leaders and 130+ billionaires.
The Pandora Papers happen to be among the largest leaks ever, with information amounting up to 2.9 TB referencing above 400 Aussies. In specific, the Pandora Paper mentions the presidents of Kenya, Ecuador, and Ukraine.
Along with them, Tony Blair and the King of Jordan are also mentioned. The Pandora Papers come from 14 financial firms that worked for the wealthiest individuals in the world to create trusts in countries like Switzerland, Dubai, the Cayman Islands, and Monaco.
Regarding the Pandora Papers, the ICIJ stated, “the leaked records reveal that many of the power players who could help bring an end to the offshore system instead benefit from it.”
But that is not all. The publication also further stated that the individuals named in the Pandora Papers have been “stashing assets in covert companies and trusts while their governments do little to slow a global stream of illicit money….”
Among the list of Billionaires that are a part of the Pandora Papers, many are notable politicians, business leaders, and celebrities. These individuals made use of shell companies to hold properties, yachts, and artwork (including Picasso paintings and antiquities from Cambodia that have been looted).
Other treasures that were previously hidden from the world view include a French Riviera chateau costing $30 million owned by the prime minister of the Czech Republic. It also noted that one of the most powerful families in Guatemala owns a secret trust worth $17.8 million.
Similarly, the King of Jordan owns a Malibu beachfront property worth $93.4 million. However, the Royal Palace of Jordan is yet to comment on the leak. This comes right after Prince Hamzah, the former Crown Prince and the half-brother of the King, accused the system of incompetence and corruption. However, the King referred to it as nothing but a “malicious plot” and placed the former crown prince on house arrest.
Celebrities have also been named among owners of offshore assets include Sachin Tendulkar, Claudia Schiffer, and Shakira. The lawyers of all three celebrities have stated that the assets have been declared to the relevant authorities already.
Other than data leaks from 14 firms, the Pandora Papers also cover several law firms and global banks, including Baker McKenzie and Morgan Stanley. For instance, Morgan Stanley clients have established around 312 companies in the British Virgin Islands.
However, regarding that, a representative from the financial services giant from the US stated, “We do not create offshore companies… This process is independent of the firm and at the discretion and direction of the client.”
Based on the allegations present in the Pandora Papers, Baker McKenzie made use of “their lobbying and legislation-drafting know-how to shape financial laws around the world.”
For instance, Ihor Kolomoisky, the Ukrainian oligarch, happens to be one of the most high-profile clients of Baker McKenzie. According to authorities in the US, Ihor Kolomoisky has used shell companies to launder above $7.7 billion.
The fugitive Jho Low is another high-profile client of the giant who carries accusations of embezzling above $6 billion from the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.
Overall, over 11.9 million documents have been examined by 600+ journalists belonging to 150 news outlets for 2 years. Without a doubt, the Pandora Paper comprises the largest collection of leaked data. The credit for exposing the dark world of shell companies and offshore trusts goes to the ICIJ.
After the leak, a British charities consortium, Oxfam International, expressed its joy when Pandora Papers exposed the Billionaires. Of course, this means the home countries are deprived of a lot of tax revenue that can help finance projects and programs.
Regarding this, the British charities consortium, “This is where our missing hospitals are. This is where the pay-packets sit of all the extra teachers and firefighters and public servants we need.”
Previously, the Panama Papers featured data amounting to up to 2.6 TB of data. However, the law firm behind the Panama Papers, Mossack Fonseca, is now defunct. In contrast, the Pandora Papers feature 2.9 TB of data, which reflects the comprehensiveness of this leak.
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