Leaders from all over the world, both in office and in office, reportedly hold enormous wealth and secretly own real estate in various locations around the world. The results of a months-long investigation by 600 investigative journalists from 117 countries into 12 million documents were contained in the “Pandora Papers” and released Sunday (3/10).
Jordan’s King Abdullah, a close American ally and partner in the Middle East, is suspected of having offshore accounts and spending more than $100 million on 14 luxury homes in Britain and America. In a statement Monday (4/10), Jordan said that it is no secret that the king owns property in America and Britain. “This is neither unusual nor inappropriate,” the statement said.
The Jordanian palace said the property was purchased from the king’s personal income, not state funds. In addition, the property is used for both official and private visits. Security, the statement said, was a consideration why overseas properties were not disclosed.
The name of Russian President Vladimir Putin is also mentioned in the Pandora Papers. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday, “The only thing that catches the eye of the Pandora Papers is the appearance of which country has offshore accounts and the biggest tax evader in the world. Of course, that is the United States of America. .”
Peskov added that the Kremlin did not see anything special in the investigation and that what was released so far were mostly “a series of baseless statements” that did not require an investigation.
Thomas Adshead, a Moscow-based financial expert, told the Associated Press the investigation was unlikely to change the political landscape in Russia. Russians may or may not believe that Putin has assets abroad. “In my opinion, it is very likely that President Putin has nothing in his own name.”
The findings of the International Consortium of Investigating Journalists also stated that Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, a populist billionaire, in 2009 kept $22 million in an offshore account to buy several properties in southern France. Babis on Monday denied any wrongdoing and accused the document of trying to undermine him in the election. “I have no accounts abroad, I have no property in France. These are disgusting, false accusations meant to influence elections,” Babis said.
Responding to the release of the Pandora Papers, EU Commission spokesman Dan Ferrie warned Monday that, “Tax avoidance and evasion are global issues that need to be tackled globally.”
The Pandora Papers highlight how world leaders, powerful politicians, billionaires and others have had accounts offshore to protect assets that have collectively been worth trillions of dollars over the past 25 years. Many of these accounts are designed to evade taxes and hide assets.
European Commission Director Dana Spinant said: “It is a measure of fairness that everyone should pay taxes, especially in these difficult budget times.”
The Pandora Papers were released five years after the leak of documents known as the Panama Papers, which revealed that wealthy people hid money in such a way that it could not be detected by law enforcement agencies. The Pandora Papers reveal the asset holdings of more than 130 people who made Forbes magazine’s list as billionaires and 330 politicians and public officials from 90 countries and territories, including 35 current and former leaders.
Pandora Papers draws on 29,000 offshore accounts at 14 separate financial services companies operating in countries including Switzerland, Singapore, Cyprus, Belize, British Virgin Islands and elsewhere.
The Washington Post got involved and said that the data investigated included personal emails, spreadsheet secrets, secret contracts, and other records that reveal financial schemes and the people behind them.
On its website, Tempo said it was the only media in Indonesia that was involved. He said the two Indonesian officials named in the Pandora Papers were Coordinating Minister for the Economy Airlangga Hartarto and Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan. [ka/lt]