World leaders, politicians and celebrities are among the thousands who have been exposed to harboring vast fortunes through a network of anonymous or anonymous companies.
The disclosures in the report, known as the Pandora Papers, represent a major leak that includes nearly 12 million files from several legal institutions that shed light on the figures’ secret assets located overseas.
Among the facts revealed in the Pandora Papers, the hidden wealth of the Azerbaijani president, Ilham Aliyev, and his family is among the most shocking. The leaks show the Aliyevs and their partners sold properties in Britain worth $544 million in the last 15 years.
“Since the family took power in 1993, they have controlled many of the country’s important industries and natural resources and used them to amass wealth,’ said Rachel Davies Teka of anti-corruption campaign group Transparency International.
“All of that is done at the expense of the people. The people are suffering because their leaders are taking away the resources that should be shared among the citizens of the country.”
The leaked documents also show that Jordan’s King, Abdullah II, has built secret property ventures in America and Britain worth more than $100 million. Speaking on Monday (4/10), Abdullah rejected accusations that he was trying to hide his wealth.
“I have nothing to hide from anyone, but we (have the evidence) are stronger, and this is not the first time Jordan has been targeted.”
In addition to the two figures, Pakistani cabinet ministers and their families, who are close allies of Prime Minister Imran Khan, were also revealed to have multimillion-dollar overseas companies. Khan said they would be investigated.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and six members of his family are also named in the investigative report. It said they were linked to more than a dozen companies overseas, including one with assets valued at more than $30 million. However, there is no evidence to suggest that the Kenyatta family stole state assets.
Most of the activities disclosed by the Pandora Papers, including ownership of these overseas companies, are legal.
There is one common thread found in the disclosure of corruption in the report. Names of cities and countries such as London and the British Virgin Islands have been revealed to offer a closed network of laws designed to hide who really owns the money.
“We can buy property anonymously, if we use a company that is formed and registered abroad which now has confidentiality. We also have luxury services to offer to the world’s elite,” said Davies Teka.
“Unfortunately a number of our professional accountants, lawyers, real estate agents are happy to assist the perpetrators of corruption and crime who hide and manage their wealth.”
Britain’s ruling Conservative Party is also implicated in the allegations, after a Pandora Papers report revealed the party’s contributors were linked to alleged corruption.
Britain’s finance minister Rishi Sunak denied Monday that London’s reputation for tax evasion was “shameful”. He said his government has a strong track record in dealing with global corruption. (ps/lt)