This revelation came in a massive data leak by the Pandora Papers of top influencing world figures including politicians, billionaires and crime families. The curtain has unfolded and led to the biggest trove of leaked offshore data in history.
Branded the Pandora Papers, includes 11.9m files from companies hired by wealthy clients to create offshore structures and trusts in tax havens such as Panama, Dubai, Monaco, Switzerland, and the Cayman Islands.
These files expose secret offshore affairs of 35 world leaders, including current and former presidents, prime ministers and heads of state, also shining a light on secret financial dealings of more than 300 other public officials such as government ministers, judges, mayors and military generals in more than 90 countries.
These files include disclosures about major donors to the Conservative party, raising difficult questions for Boris Johnson as his part meets for its annual conference.
In the files reviewed by Woodland Report, more than 100 billionaires are featured in the leaked data, as well as celebrities, rock stars and business leaders.
It becomes clear that many use shell companies to hold luxury items like property and incognito bank accounts.
These papers reveal the inner workings of what we call a shadow financial system, which provides hidden operations to its operators on a global scale. The emails, memos, incorporation records, share certificates, compliance reports and complex diagrams showing a maze of corporate structures data were leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism (ICIJ) in Washington.
It then shared access to this data with select media partners including the Guardian, BBC Panorama, Le Monde and The Washington Post.
Offshore entities aren’t illegal. Benefiting from offshore entities are not illegal and in some cases people use it for legitimate reasons like security, but the secrecy offered by tax havens has at times proven attractive to tax evaders, fraudsters and money launderers.
Political leaders mentioned in the files are ruler of Jordan, King Abdullah II, who amassed a secret $100m property empire spanning Malibu, Washington and London. Former prime minster Cherie Blair who saved $361,000 and bought a $7.1M office in Marylebone by acquiring British Virgin Islands (BVI) offshore company.
Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy is also mentioned, during the 2019 campaign he transferred his 25% stake in an offshore company to a close friend who now works as the president’s top adviser.
Russia’s Vladimir Putin does not appear in the files by name but numerous associates of the Russian president do appear, including late best friend Petr Kolbin whom most people called his “wallet” and a woman who Putin was romantically involved with.
The spotlight of the offshore system was also revealed. United States President Joe Biden pledged to lead efforts internationally seemed to prove embarrassing for the U.S. president with the United States as a leading tax haven.
In Pakistan, Moonis Elahi, a prominent minister in prime minister Imran Khan’s government, contacted an offshore provider in Singapore about investing $33.7m.
In Kenya, the president, Uhuru Kenyatta, has portrayed himself as an enemy of corruption. He will come under pressure to explain why he and his close relatives amassed more than $30m of offshore wealth, including property in London.
The trail also stretches from Africa to Latin American and will likely pose difficult questions for politicians around the world.