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Old 10-03-2021, 04:39 PM
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Exclamation 'Pandora Papers': Massive leak exposes offshore dealings of 35 world leaders

'Pandora Papers': Massive leak exposes offshore dealings of 35 world leaders
By: Monique Beals - The Hill News 10-03-21
Re: https://thehill.com/policy/finance/5...-world-leaders

Leaked offshore financial records dubbed the "Pandora Papers" were published by major news outlets this weekend, exposing the secret assets and agreements from some of the world's most wealthy and powerful leaders.

The leak contained nearly 12 million files from companies hired to set up offshore accounts in Panama, Dubai, Monaco, Switzerland and the Cayman Islands, the Guardian said.

The Guardian reported that people named in the papers include 35 world leaders, 300 other public officials and more than 100 billionaires. Current and former presidents, prime ministers, judges, mayors, military generals and more are among those named.

The data was originally given to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in Washington, D.C.

ICIJ then distributed the information to organizations like the Guardian, BBC Panorama, Le Monde and The Washington Post. Since then, more than 600 journalists have investigated the contents of the papers in the largest data leak on record in terms of financial data volume, the Guardian said.

The papers offer what the Guardian called a "rare window into the hidden operations" of offshore financial operations that enable some of the world's wealthiest people to evade taxes.

Though not everyone named in the papers was accused of any wrongdoing, some of the paper's revelations could have serious implications on upcoming elections.

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who will seek reelection next week, declined to comment on why he used an offshore investment firm to purchase a $22 million chateau in the south of France, per the Guardian's reporting on the papers.

Others named in the papers included King Abdullah II of Jordan, who reportedly had $100 million in properties all over the world and maintained he had committed no wrongdoing by holding those properties through offshore companies, the Guardian said.

The papers also show how a Russian woman purchased a multimillion-dollar apartment in Monaco and accumulated enormous wealth after having a baby, at a time when she was reportedly in a secret relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is said to have transferred a 25 percent stake in an offshore company to his friend turned top adviser, the papers show. The transfer came during a campaign in which he promised to rectify the corrupt nature of his country's economy, the Guardian noted.

While offshore holdings are not illegal and can even have legitimate security-related purposes, their secretive nature has at times been used to enable criminal activity and money laundering.

The papers could be an embarrassment for President Biden, who vowed to bring transparency to international finances though papers portray the U.S. as a "leading tax haven," the Guardian said.

The Guardian and other media outlets intend to publish additional findings about the papers in the coming days.

TAGS: JOE BIDEN - VLADIMIR PUTIN - OFFSHORE FINANCE

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Upper Management & Top Heavy Billionaires seem to be doing a little
backdoor operations to ensure assets grow during the shortage. Are
we surprised? Hell no this has been going on for decades. Big money
makes more money when the shit hits the fan - hence more billions!
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O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Old 10-03-2021, 04:47 PM
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Angry Follow up to the above by USA Today

'Pandora Papers': Leaked records reveal financial secrets of world leaders, politicians
By: Michael Liedtke & Jonathatn Mattise - Associated Press & USA Today - 10-03-21
Re: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/...ts/5982945001/

Hundreds of world leaders, powerful politicians, billionaires, celebrities, religious leaders and drug dealers have been hiding their investments in mansions, exclusive beachfront property, yachts and other assets for the past quarter-century, according to a review of nearly 12 million files obtained from 14 different firms located around the world.

The report released Sunday by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists involved 600 journalists from 150 media outlets in 117 countries. It's being dubbed the "Pandora Papers" because the findings shed light on the previously hidden dealings of the elite and the corrupt, and how they have used offshore accounts to shield assets collectively worth trillions of dollars.

The more than 330 current and former politicians identified as beneficiaries of the secret accounts include Jordan's King Abdullah II, former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, Czech Republic Prime Minister Andrej Babis, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Ecuador's President Guillermo Lasso, and former associates of both Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The billionaires called out in the report include Turkish construction mogul Erman Ilicak and Robert T. Brockman, the former CEO of software maker Reynolds & Reynolds.

Many of the accounts were designed to evade taxes and conceal assets for other shady reasons, according to the report.

"The new data leak must be a wake-up call," said Sven Giegold, a Green party lawmaker in the European Parliament. "Global tax evasion fuels global inequality. We need to expand and sharpen the countermeasures now."

Oxfam International, a British consortium of charities, applauded the Pandora Papers for exposing brazen examples of greed that deprived countries of tax revenue that could be used to finance programs and projects for the greater good.

“This is where our missing hospitals are," Oxfam said in a statement. “This is where the pay-packets sit of all the extra teachers and firefighters and public servants we need. Whenever a politician or business leader claims there is ‘no money’ to pay for climate damage and innovation, for more and better jobs, for a fair post-COVID recovery, for more overseas aid, they know where to look."

The Pandora Papers are a follow to a similar project released in 2016 called the "Panama Papers" compiled by the same journalistic group.

Investigation reveals accounts in offshore tax havens

The latest bombshell is even more expansive, porting through nearly 3 terabytes of data — the equivalent of roughly 750,000 photos on a smartphone — leaked from 14 different service providers doing business in 38 different jurisdictions in the world. The records date back to the 1970s, but most of the files span from 1996 to 2020.

In contrast, the Panama Papers culled through 2.6 terabytes of data leaked by one now-defunct law firm called Mossack Fonseca that was located in the country that inspired that project's nickname.

The latest investigation dug into accounts registered in familiar offshore havens, including the British Virgin Islands, Seychelles, Hong Kong, and Belize. But some of the secret accounts were also scattered around in trusts set up in the U.S., including 81 in South Dakota and 37 in Florida.

Some initial findings released Sunday painted a sordid picture of the prominent people involved.

Jordan's King Abdullah II bought US, UK homes
For instance, the investigation found advisers helped King Abdullah II of Jordan set up at least three dozen shell companies from 1995 to 2017, helping the monarch buy 14 homes worth more than $106 million in the U.S. and the U.K. One was a $23 million California ocean-view property bought in 2017 through a British Virgin Islands company. The advisers were identified as an English accountant in Switzerland and lawyers in the British Virgin Islands.

There was no immediate comment from Jordan’s Royal Palace.

The details are an embarrassing blow to Abdullah, whose government was engulfed in scandal this year when his half brother, former Crown Prince Hamzah, accused the “ruling system” of corruption and incompetence. The king claimed he was the victim of a “malicious plot,” placed his half brother under house arrest and put two former close aides on trial.

Abdullah took power in 1999 after the death of his father, King Hussein.

U.K attorneys for Abdullah said he isn’t required to pay taxes under his country’s law and hasn’t misused public funds, adding that there are security and privacy reasons for him to have holdings through offshore companies, according to the report. The attorneys also said most of the companies and properties are not connected to the king or no longer exist, though they declined to provide details.

Tony Blair bought company with expensive building

Blair, U.K prime minister from 1997 to 2007, became the owner of an $8.8 million Victorian building in 2017 by buying a British Virgin Islands company that held the property, and the building now hosts the law firm of his wife, Cherie Blair, according to the investigation. The two bought the company from the family of Bahrain's industry and tourism minister, Zayed bin Rashid al-Zayani. Buying the company shares instead of the building saved the Blairs more than $400,000 in property taxes, the investigation found.

The Blairs and the al-Zayanis both said they didn't initially know the other party was involved in the deal, the probe found. Cherie Blair said her husband wasn't involved in the deal, which she said was meant to bring "the company and the building back into the U.K. tax and regulatory regime." A lawyer for the al-Zayanis said they complied with U.K. laws.

Czech leader tied to shell company, chateau

In 2009, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis put $22 million into shell companies to buy a chateau property in a hilltop village in Mougins, France, near Cannes, the investigation found. The shell companies and the chateau were not disclosed in Babis' required asset declarations, according to documents obtained by the journalism group's Czech partner, Investigace.cz.

A real estate group owned indirectly by Babis bought the Monaco company that owned the chateau in 2018, the probe found.

"I was waiting for them to bring something right before the election to harm me and influence the Czech election," Babis tweeted in his first reaction to the report.

The Czech Republic parliamentary election is being held on Friday and Saturday.

"I've never done anything illegal or wrong," Babis added.

About the reporter: Liedtke reported from San Ramon, California, and Mattise reported from Nashville, Tennessee.
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Boats

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"IN GOD WE TRUST"
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