‘Pandora Papers’ expose offshore assets of Heads of State, Govt.
More than a dozen Heads of State and Government have hidden millions in offshore tax havens, according to investigation published on Sunday by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) media consortium. The so-called “Pandora Papers” investigation — involving some 600 journalists from media, including The Washington Post, the BBC and The Guardian — is based on the leak of some 11.9 million documents from 14 financial services companies around the world.
Some 35 current and former leaders are featured in the documents analyzed by the ICIJ — facing allegations ranging from corruption to money laundering and global tax avoidance. In total, the ICIJ found links between almost 1,000 companies in offshore havens and 336 high-level politicians and public officials, including country leaders, cabinet ministers, ambassadors and others.
More than two-thirds of the companies were set up in the British Virgin Islands.
In most countries, the ICIJ stresses, it is not illegal to have assets offshore or to use shell companies to do business across national borders. But such revelations are no less of an embarrassment for leaders who may have campaigned publicly against corruption, or advocated austerity measures at home.
The “Pandora Papers” are the latest in a series of mass ICIJ leaks of financial documents that started with LuxLeaks in 2014, and was followed by the Panama Papers, the Paradise Papers and FinCen.
The documents behind the latest investigation are drawn from financial services companies in countries including the British Virgin Islands, Panama, Belize, Cyprus, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Switzerland.
– THE HINDU