Pandora papers reveal the involvement of leaders, business owners and elite class around the world in offshore companies, foundations and trusts.
The Pandora Papers:
Pandora papers investigation was done by ICIJ in which 600 journalist participated from 117 countries. They investigated the 2.94 terabytes of confidential data about fourteen offshore service providers. These providers provided expert assistance to wealthy individuals and firms in setting offshore companies, trusts, foundations and opening bank accounts with little or no tax.
The data was revealed to ICIJ and other media outlets in the form of documents, emails, pictures etc. The journalists focused on the data of last two decades and revealed the formation of hidden companies, trusts and foundations; use of offshore providers in buying foreign lands, life insurance, jets and yachts; their assistance in investment and money transferring in banks and lastly tax avoidance through various schemes. Journalists also found evidence of money laundering in few documents.
What do Pandora Papers contain?
Pandora papers contain all the information (files, documents, images, emails, diagrams) about the hidden financial information of richest people in the world. This data was investigated by journalists of ICIJ and other media outlets.
It is illegal to set up offshore companies but sometimes individuals have legitimate reasons of security to do so. In these Pandora papers, information about some individuals who are involved in money laundering, financial fraud and tax avoidance is revealed.
Names of 330 politician from 90 countries of the world are revealed who used offshore service providers to buy shell companies, property and holding money in trusts etc. The investigation also revealed the involvement of banks and law offices with offshores service providers. The investigator also disclosed about U.S trust providers assisting rich foreign clients to hide wealth from government and avoid taxes.
Data of Pandora Papers:
The data of Pandora papers was 2.94 terabytes which is more than 11.9 million records gathered from 14 different providers. Out of these 11.9 million records, 6.4 million documents, 2.9 million images, 1.2 million emails were found while the rest of data was in the form of videos, audios, spreadsheets and presentations.
The unique factor about Pandora papers is that the data was collected from 14 different offshore service providers. The previous leaks such as Panama and Paradise papers contained all the data from single provider.
Since the data was from 14 different sources it was very hard to sort it because every provider kept the data differently i.e. some by clients name, some by offices and some didn’t have any systematic organization. The data was also recorded in different languages including English, French, Korean, Spanish, Russian, Arabic etc. Thus the sorting of data was extremely difficult process which required the collaboration of 600 journalists.
Involvement of US Trusts in Pandora Papers:
The US trusts providers from different states helping foreigners in hiding wealth was also revealed in the Pandora papers. The ICIJ and other media outlets collected data from 15 states manually and carefully identified the involvement of political leaders in it. After extensive research and mindful evaluation, they found involvement of more than 330 politicians and higher public officials, also found 35 leaders of the different countries.
World leaders in Pandora Papers:
According to Pandora papers, 35 leaders from different countries around the world have offshore shell companies. Property and bank accounts. These include king of Jordan, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, ruler of Qatar and some leaders of Czech Republic, Kenya and Ukraine.
- King of Jordan:
According to Pandora leaks, the king of Jordan Shah Abdullah has spent 100 million dollars secretly in buying property in UK and USA. Pandora papers reveal that the king used several secretly owned firms to buy 15 homes since 1999.
It is claimed by lawyers of King Abdullah II that he bought homes with his own legitimate wealth and the use of offshore companies in this regard is legal.
King Abdullah is considered as western ally in Middle East. Jordan receives aid from both UK and USA. UK increased the funds up to £650 million in 2019.
In any case, his property advantages have been developed somewhere in the range of 2003 and 2017 as he has been blamed for managing a dictator system at home.
- UK Prime Minister:
According to Pandora papers, ex-Prime Minister of UK Tony Blair and his wife Cherie avoided paying tax of £312k by buying an offshore company. Tony and Cherie Blair bought £6.45 million house as office of legal advisory in 2017 by buying the offshore company that owned it.
- Ukraine President:
Pandora papers stated that president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy have used offshore schemes to benefit his secret family business overseas and to get profit.
The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) claimed that, “The files also show how another European leader elected on an anti-graft platform, Volodymyr Zelensky, appears to have used complex offshore arrangements to allow his family to continue benefiting from overseas business without declaring it”
- Czech Prime Minister:
The Pandora papers claims that Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis used offshore company to buy a luxurious manor in France, French Riviera in 2009. According to Pandora papers description, manor has five rooms, 9.4 acres land; medieval style and surrounded by forest.
The estate is owned by a secondary Czech company indirectly owned by Prime Minister Babis.
- President of Kenya:
According to Pandora papers, the president of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta with his family transferred about 30 million dollars to offshore companies.
According to leaked information, President Uhuru Kenyatta and his mother are the beneficiaries of hidden foundations in Panama. His brother and two sisters are the owners of five offshores companies and have the wealth of over 30 million dollars. According to ICIJ, “The leaked records listed Kenyatta and his mother as beneficiaries of a secretive foundation in Panama. Other family members, including his brother and two sisters, own five offshore companies with assets worth more than $30 million, the records show.”