Oct. 4 (Reuters) – A group of news organizations released the following key findings after investigating a massive loss of confidential financial records revealing assets held overseas by politicians and officials around the world.
The news reports were published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and its media partners in the Pandora investigation, including The Washington Post, BBC, The Guardian, Radio France and Indian Express.
Reuters was unable to independently verify the allegations or documents listed by the consortium and its partners.
JORDAN KING ABDULLAH
Jordanian King Abdullah has amassed approximately $ 100 million worth of property through secret corporations in the United States and the United Kingdom. Acquired through tax haven-registered firms between 2003 and 2017, they include properties in Malibu, Southern California, Washington and London.
DLA Piper, a London law firm representing Abdullah, told the ICIJ that it “has never misused public funds or used the proceeds of any aid or assistance intended for public use”.
CZECH PRIME MINISTER ANDREJ BABIS
Pandora news reports said Babis moved $ 22 million through offshore companies to buy a property on the French Riviera in 2009 while keeping his property secret. The report didn’t say the transactions were against the law.
Babis, who spoke in a televised debate on Sunday before the October 8-9 elections, denied wrongdoing and said: “The money left a Czech bank, was taxed, it was my money and returned to a Czech bank”.
Babis, founder of the agricultural, food, chemical and media empire Agrofert, entered politics in 2011 with an anti-corruption agenda.
According to the Washington Post, Russian Svetlana Krivonogikh became the owner of an apartment in Monaco in April 2003, just a few weeks after the birth of a girl, through an offshore company on the Caribbean island of Tortola. At the time, she had a secret, long-term relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Post said, citing the Russian investigation company Proekt.
The Post said Krivonogikh, their daughter, who is now 18, and the Kremlin did not respond to requests for comment.
The ICIJ said the leaked documents showed that members of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s inner circle, including cabinet ministers, secretly own companies and trusts holding millions of dollars in hidden assets. The documents also showed the personal wealth of Pakistani military leaders, she added.
The consortium said the documents contained no evidence that Khan owns any offshore companies himself.
Finance Minister Shaukat Fayaz Ahmed Tarin and members of his family own four offshore companies. According to Tariq Fawad Malik, a financial advisor who did the paperwork for the companies, they were formed as part of the Tarin family’s proposed investment in a bank with a Saudi business, the ICIJ said. The deal didn’t go through.
The ICIJ quoted Tarin in a statement: “The offshore companies mentioned were accepted as part of the fundraising process for my bank.”
The Guardian said the files provided evidence that South Dakota was now competing with obscure jurisdictions in Europe and the Caribbean on financial secrecy.
The documents reveal that nearly $ 360 billion in client assets are held in trust companies in South Dakota, some of which are affiliated with offshore-based individuals and companies allegedly alleged to have abused human rights and other misconduct. State officials declined to comment on the newspaper.
The investigation found that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his family were secretly involved in UK real estate deals worth more than £ 400 million ($ 542 million), according to the BBC.
The files show how the family bought 17 properties, including a £ 33million office building in London for the president’s 11-year-old son.
The investigation also reveals how another family office building nearby was sold to the Crown Estate for £ 66 million in 2018. The Aliyevs declined to speak to the BBC.
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and six of his family members are, according to the documents, connected to 13 offshore companies.
The Kenyatta’s offshore investments included a $ 30 million stock and bond company, the BBC reported. The Kenyattas have not yet responded to requests for comment, she added.
Reporting by Mark Bendeich; Adaptation by Lincoln Feast.
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