October 4 (WNN) — An investigation into millions of confidential files has uncovered alleged secret financial dealings of 35 current and former heads of state, as well as more than 330 politicians and government officials.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released the report, titled the Pandora Papers, on Sunday, accusing Jordan’s King Abdullah II bin al-Hussein of using offshore companies to buy Malibu beachfront property, with Czech Prime Minister Ledi Babis in a similar fashion. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to buy a British Virgin Islands offshore company to buy the French Riviera Chateau and avoid paying hundreds of thousands in property taxes.
ICIJ said that 14 offshore services firms worldwide have a stockpile of 11.9 million documents larger than its Panama Papers that shook the financial world in 2016.
“The Pandora Papers investigation uncovers secret owners of offshore companies, secret bank accounts, private jets, yachts, mansions, even artifacts by Picasso, Banksy and other masters,” it said.
A consortium of 600 journalists from 150 news outlets accused King Abdullah II of working with an English accountant from Switzerland that raised over $106 million in the United States and Britain between 1995 and 2017 through the use of 36 shell companies. Anonymously buys 14 luxury homes worth more. .
The report also said that Babis purchased Chateau Bigaud in Mougins, France in 2009 through shell companies, none of which he declared as assets required by Czech law.
With regards to Blair, the report alleges that he and his wife, Cheri Blair, owned an $8.8 million Victorian building purchased by the British Virgin Islands Company, which had asked Zayed bin Rashid Al-Jayani, Bahrain’s Minister of Industry and Tourism. had done his job.
The consortium said that by buying the company to buy the property, Blair avoided paying more than $400,000 in property taxes.
The Pandora Papers links Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s inner circle to offshore companies and trusts worth millions of dollars, while also linking the presidents of Ukraine, Kenya and Ecuador to offshore deals.
KHAN tweeted That they “welcome to the Pandora Papers” and “the wrongfully acquired wealth of the elite” exposed it.
“My government will investigate all our citizens whose names appear in the Pandora Papers and if anything goes wrong, we will take appropriate action,” he said. “I urge the international community to do the same to address this blatant injustice.”
The consortium said it had identified 956 offshore tax haven companies linked to 336 politicians and public officials in the Pandora Papers.
“In an era of widespread authoritarianism and inequality, the Pandora Papers investigation provides a disparate perspective on how money and power work in the 21st century – and how the rule of law around the world is bowed by a system of financial secrecy. And it’s broken. America and other wealthy countries have enabled it.”
Oxfam International, a British charitable confederation, cheered the journalists who published the report, while calling on world leaders to take immediate and long-promised action to stop the use of the offshore tax haven.
“This is where our missing hospitals are. This is where the pay-packets are all the extra teachers and firefighters and public servants need,” Oxfam International’s head of tax policy, Susanna Ruiz, said in a statement. “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, more foreign For help, they know where to look.”
The tax haven, Ruiz said, costs governments $472 billion a year.
“Ordinary taxpayers have to pick up the pieces. Developing countries are being affected the most, proportionately,” she said. “We cannot allow tax havens to continue bridging global inequality to the point of breaking down while the world experiences the largest increase in extreme poverty in decades.”
The report comes years after the consortium published the Panama Papers, which described some of the world’s rich and powerful people hiding in offshore safe havens.
Those involved included FIFA members, Putin and film star Jackie Chan.