Tax haven leak exposes secret foreign deals by politicians – including presidents and prime ministers
Five years ago, the “Panama Papers” caused quite a stir. Now follow the “Pandora Papers”, which reveals the involvement of more than 330 politicians from 91 countries in foreign business. Including: those close to Putin, the King of Jordan and Claudia Schiffer.
According to an international research network, a massive data leak reveals the secret transactions of hundreds of politicians with email companies. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), to which the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” belongs, has published part of the research findings on the participation of more than 330 politicians and officials from 91 countries, such as Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, in foreign deals.
About 600 journalists in 117 countries participated in the evaluation of the so-called Pandora Papers. According to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, 11.9 million leaked documents “covering every corner of the world” were evaluated. In Germany, in addition to the “Süddeutsche”, the NDR and the WDR were also involved in the research. According to the media, the data – nearly three terabytes in total – comes from 14 companies that provide offshore facilities.
President Zelensky, King of Jordan and Claudia Schiffer tangled
The current Czech Prime Minister Babis is said to have bought a country castle in southern France for more than 15 million euros in this way, largely anonymously. For him, the timing of the publication is particularly sensitive because a new parliament will be elected in the Czech Republic next week.
Also, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selinsky, several close associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin and King Abdullah II of Jordan are or have been clients of offshore companies in “South Germany”. Therefore, Nikos Anastasiades, Head of State of Cyprus in the European Union, actively engaged in foreign business with his law firm, which is now run by his daughters.
SZ emphasized that working in tax havens is not per se prohibited and that many of the companies that came to light in the research appear to be “completely legal”. However, it is illegal, for example, if taxable income in tax havens is not reported to the local tax office.
Celebrities such as German model Claudia Schiffer, former Beatle Ringo Starr and pop star Shakira also appeared in the search. According to the “S.Z” website, Shafer and Shakira indicated that they adhere to all laws and regulations. So Ringo Starr did not respond to a request from reporters.
Even before the publication of the “Pandora Papers”, the Panamanian government had warned of serious damage to the country’s image as a result of the 2016 “Panama Papers”. At that time, an anonymous informant from the newspaper “Süddeutsche Zeitung” leaked more than 11 million internal documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack. Fonseca. An assessment in collaboration with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists revealed a sophisticated system of global tax evasion.
After the publication, a number of politicians – including then Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif – were forced to resign from their posts. Thousands of preliminary investigations have begun around the world.
This article has been updated.