October 15, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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Pandora documents: Government officials questioned for tax evasion

Pandora documents: Government officials questioned for tax evasion

According to an investigation published Sunday by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), several leaders, including the Czech prime minister, the king of Jordan or the presidents of Kenya and Ecuador, have hidden assets in offshore companies. .

The so-called “Pandora Papers” investigation, in which about 600 journalists collaborated, found 29,000 offshore companies based on nearly 11.9 million documents from 14 financial services companies.

According to these documents, King Abdullah II of Jordan created at least thirty offshore companies, i.e. in countries or territories with favorable taxation.

King Abdullah II of Jordan.

AFP

King Abdullah II of Jordan.

Through these companies, he bought 14 luxury properties in the US and UK for over $ 106 million.

In the case of the Czech Prime Minister Andrzej Babis, he put $ 22 million in front companies, which were used to buy the Big Fort, a large property in Mogins, southern France.

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso has filed for funding at two trusts headquartered in South Dakota.

In total, ICIJ has established links between offshore assets and 336 top executives and politicians, who have created nearly 1,000 companies, more than two-thirds of which are based in the British Virgin Islands.

Also on display are Colombian singer Shakira, German model Claudia Schiffer and Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar.

Dominic Strauss-Kahn and Morocco

Also appearing are the names of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former French Minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who completed the purchase of real estate in London by a company abroad.

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According to documents reviewed by ICIJ, the former managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) provided several million dollars in consulting fees to companies through a tax-exempt Moroccan company.

In most countries, these facts cannot be prosecuted. But in the case of leaders, the ICIJ’s anti-corruption discourse is conducted in parallel with their investments in some tax havens.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has repeatedly reaffirmed his commitment to the Kenyan authorities to fight corruption in his country and to be transparent about their heritage.

However, according to the “Pandora Papers” section dedicated to him, the Kenyan head of state has a foundation in Panama, and many members of his direct family have over $ 30 million in offshore accounts.

Founded in 1997 by the American Center for Public Integrity, ICIJ became an independent organization in 2017.

Its network includes investigative journalists in more than 100 countries and territories, as well as nearly 100 media partners.

ICIJ became famous in early April 2016 with the publication of the Panama Papers, an investigation based on nearly 11.5 million documents from the Panamanian law firm.

They described the hidden assets of thousands of Mosaic Fonseka clients, including celebrities.

The shock wave caused by this publication led to the resignation of especially the Prime Minister of Iceland Sigmundur David Gunlaxon and the Head of Government of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif.

The lawsuit was probably funded by Steven Soderbergh, director of the Netflix platform.

In November 2017, ICIJ published “Paradise Papers”, based on a new series of documents, most of which came from Applelaby, another company specializing in financial arrangements.

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Big names to hide assets and evade taxes are highlighted in the survey, such as Prince Charles, Formula 1 champion Louis Hamilton or the Nike Group.