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The Pandora Papers: Heads of government questioned for tax evasion

The Pandora Papers: Heads of government questioned for tax evasion

An investigation published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has revealed that several leaders, including the Czech prime minister and the king of Jordan or the presidents of Kenya and Ecuador, have hidden assets in offshore companies, especially for tax evasion purposes. .

The investigation, dubbed “Pandora’s Papers,” to which nearly 600 journalists contributed, is based on about 11.9 million documents from 14 financial services firms, and exposed more than 29,000 offshore firms.

According to these documents, King Abdullah II of Jordan established at least thirty offshore companies, that is, in countries or territories with favorable taxes.

King Abdullah II of Jordan.

France Press agency

King Abdullah II of Jordan.

Through these entities, he purchased 14 luxury properties in the US and UK, for more than $106 million.

The Czech Prime Minister, Andrej Babis, put up $22 million in front companies that were used to fund the purchase of Begaud Castle, a large estate located in Mougins, southern France.

Ecuadorean President Guillermo Laso deposited money into two trust funds based in the United States, in South Dakota.

In all, ICIJ has established links between offshore assets and 336 senior executives and politicians, who have set up nearly 1,000 businesses, more than two-thirds of which are in the British Virgin Islands.

Colombian singer Shakira, German model Claudia Schiffer and Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar are also on display.

In most countries, these facts cannot be prosecuted. But in the case of leaders, ICIJ parallels the anti-corruption rhetoric some of them embrace with their investments in tax havens.

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Founded in 1997 by the American Center for Public Integrity, ICIJ became an independent entity in 2017.

Its network includes 280 investigative journalists in more than 100 countries and territories, as well as nearly 100 media partners.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists became known in early April 2016 for publishing the “Panama Papers,” an investigation based on about 11.5 million documents from a Panamanian law firm.