Media houses have gone through 12 million files obtained from 14 companies spread around the world. These leaked documents have revealed secret offshore wealth of more than 300 business leaders, politicians, celebrities and world leaders.
So far so good, this one of the largest leaks of financial documents. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) got access to the documents which were subsequently passed on to media houses around the world. The BBC and the Guardian were among the first to release stories about the leakage of financial information.
The leaked documents exposed how the global elite are using offshore accounts as tax havens and moving their wealth. The release was made possible by a team of 600 journalists from 150 media houses in 117 countries. The global elite has successfully shielded wealth valued at trillions of dollars.
The list includes who is who in the world such as King Abdullah II of Jordan, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Imran Khan, Czech Republic’s Prime Minister Andrej Babis and the President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta among many others.
Tycoons such as Erman Ilicak, a construction mogul, Robert Brockman formerly of Reynolds & Reynolds were also revealed in the leaked documents.
Tony Blair and his wife Cherie have already denied any wrong doing after the Guardian said that they are able to see more than £300,000 in stump duty on the £6.45 million London property. Tony Blair was the Prime Minister for United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007. The couple acquired the London property in 2017 at a cost of $8.8 million. They did that through first acquiring a British Virgin Islands company that owned the property.
The building now hosts the law firm of Cherie Blair according to reports from the investigators. The couple bought the building from Bahrains industry and Tourism minister Zayed bin Rashid al-Zayani.
Through buying the offshore company shares instead of the building the Blairs were able to avoid paying an excess of £400,000 in property taxes. Mohamed Amerisi, a major donor to the Conservative Party, who was instrumental in the Boris Johnson campaign is reported to have advised on the deal which was later discovered to be a £162 million bribe to the daughter of Uzbekistan’s leader.
Mr. Putin of Russia is also linked to secret assets in Monaco. A woman who was allegedly a lover of Putin became the owner of a luxury four-storey apartment in Monte Carlo in 2003 just three weeks after giving birth to a daughter. The property is valued at £3.1 million and was purchased via Brockville Development Limited. According to the reports, this company is based in the British Virgin Islands but it was discovered that the company has connections with Svetlana Krivonogikh- Putin’s alleged lover. The Kremlin has not responded to requests for comment.
Andrej Babis, Czech’s Prime Minister is reported to have injected £12 million to numerous shell companies to purchase a property known as Chateau Bigaud in Mougins, France. Babis never disclosed the shell companies and the Chateau in his declaration of assets as required by the law for all public officials.
Babis responded on Twitter said that he has done nothing illegal or wrong. He stated that the leak is an attempt to influence the Czech elections which is scheduled for next week.
The King of Jordan, Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein, spent an excess of £70 million under a shroud of secrecy on properties in the United Kingdom and United States of America. He used secret companies registered in the British Virgin Islands to acquire 15 homes since ascending to power in 1999. He owns properties in London and California.
Several cabinet ministers in Pakistan have also been named in the leaked documents. These ministers secretly owns a list of trusts and companies holding millions of dollars of hidden wealth. In the report there is no indication the Pakistani Prime Minister owns any offshore companies.
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