A massive investigation under the umbrella of Pandora Papers is currently ongoing, leaking how world leaders, business moguls used offshore tax havens to hide assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
AllNews Nigeria understands that the Pandora Papers investigation is based on the leak of some 11.9 million documents from 14 financial services companies around the world by 600 journalists from media including The Washington Post, the BBC, and The Guardian.
The Pandora Papers released, on Sunday, October 3, 2021, were analyzed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a nonprofit newsroom and network of journalists centered in Washington, D.C. Some current and former leaders are featured in the documents and will be facing allegations ranging from corruption to money laundering and global tax avoidance.
Based on the most expansive leak of tax haven files in history, the investigation reveals the secret deals and hidden assets of over 330 politicians and high-level public officials in more than 90 countries and territories, including 35 country leaders.
Ambassadors, mayors and ministers, presidential advisers, generals and a central bank governor appear in the files.
Pandora Papers Leak, Photo Credit: Aljazeera
Some of the names are listed below:
Heads of state
Former heads of state
Heads of government
Former heads of government
Among significant individuals named are is Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who, along with six of his family members, was revealed to own 11 offshore companies containing $30million worth of assets.
Former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi was also revealed to have hidden assets in offshore companies.
Obi first set up Gabriella Investment in 2010 in the British Virgin Islands, which he didn’t declare in his asset form.
The company has mutated and is now known, from 10 February 2017, as PMGG Investments Limited. The name combined the first letters of the first names of Mr. Obi’s nuclear family. P for Peter (ex-governor), M for Margaret (the ex-governor’s wife), G for Gabriella (the ex-governor’s daughter), and G for Gregory (the ex-governor’s son).
“Mr Obi has also now created a trust known as The Gabriella Settlement, an entity also registered in the BVI.
“According to Fidelity Investments, a trust is a fiduciary arrangement that allows a third party, or trustee, to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. Experts believe that trusts are traditionally used for minimizing taxes even though they can offer other estate plan benefits as well.
“By the current structuring of Mr Obi’s wealth and offshore businesses, The Gabriella Settlement, which appears to hold all or a majority of his assets, is the sole shareholder of PMGG Investments.
“In turn, a New Zealander entity, Granite Trust Company Limited is the sole trustee of The Gabriella Settlement. Sam Access International, the Monaco-based secrecy enabler Mr Obi first hired in 2010 to set up his offshore structure, was until August 23, 2019, the sole shareholder of Granite Trust”.
Others include Jordan’s King Abdullah II who was alleged to have used offshore accounts to spend more than $100m on luxury homes in the UK and US.
Days ahead of the Czech Republic’s October 8-9 parliamentary election, the documents allegedly tied the country’s prime minister, Andrej Babis, to a secret $22m estate in a hilltop village near Cannes, France.
The Papers also listed Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and his mother as beneficiaries of a secretive foundation in Panama.
The leaked document also showed that three of Kenyatta’s siblings own five offshore companies with assets worth more than $30m.
As well as politicians, the public figures exposed included Colombian singer Shakira, German supermodel Claudia Schiffer and former Indian cricket captain Sachin Tendulkar.
Prime minister of Pakistan Imran Khan’s cabinet ministers and their families were shown to own millions of dollars worth of offshore companies.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky was shown to have moved his stake in a secret offshore company just before his victory in the 2019 election.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his family and close associates snapped up more than $500million (£400million) worth of property in the UK – consisting of 17 properties, including an office block in London for $44.6million (£33million) for the president’s son Heydar Aliyev, aged 11.
They also appeared to have made a $41.9million (£31million) profit after selling a London property to the Queen’s Crown Estate, which is managed by the Treasury.
Former British prime minister Mr Blair and his wife Cherie saved some $434,000 (£321,000) in stamp duty when they bought an office in London by purchasing the offshore company that owned it. amongst others.