Pandora Papers: Data Leak Exposes Rich, Powerful

Hundreds of journalists combed through data showing offshore companies, swanky assets
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2021 4:50 PM CDT
Pandora Papers: Data Leak Exposes Rich, Powerful
File photo of Jordan's King Abdullah II. Hundreds of world leaders, billionaires, celebrities, religious leaders and drug dealers have been stashing away their investments in mansions, beachfront property, and other assets, according to a review of nearly 12 million files.   (Johanna Geron, Pool via AP, File)

Exactly how do the rich and powerful get out of paying taxes? The answer, in part, is in the Pandora Papers, 11.9 million files exposing offshore financial dealings of the very rich, with the secrets of 35 world leaders and 300 other public officials, the Guardian reports. The massive data leak was sent to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in Washington. It’s a cache of date similar to the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers. Journalists pored over the files which detail how people like King Abdullah II of Jordan or former British Prime Minister Tony Blair used shell companies to hide wealth in real estate. It’s the biggest cache of financial data so far. “The new data leak must be a wake-up call . Global tax evasion fuels global inequality,” Sven Giegold, a Green party lawmaker in the European Parliament said p er the AP .

Revelations in the papers include:

  • Svetlana Krivonogikh, a Russian woman with a modest background, suddenly owned an offshore company that owned a swanky apartment in Monaco shortly before giving birth to a girl—during a time when she was reported to be in a relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Washington Post reports.
  • King Abdullah II of Jordan, at a time when he placed under house arrest his half brother, former Crown Prince Hamzah, apparently for accusing the royals of corruption, bought property in Malibu, Washington, and London through secret offshore companies, per the Guardian.
  • Former British PM Tony Blair and his wife Cherie avoided paying property taxes—stamp duty—on the London building that houses Cherie’s law firm, by buying the offshore shell company that owned it, the BBC reports.
  • The Czech PM, Andrej Babiš, had no comments about why he used an investment company to buy a $22 million French chateau. He’s facing an election next week.
(Read more Pandora Papers stories.)

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