Pandora Papers: what we know about this investigation which implicates several leaders and celebrities, including DSK, Shakira and Tony Blair, for tax evasion

the essential The survey called “Pandora Papers”, to which around 336 journalists collaborated, is based on some 000, 9 million documents, which come from 14 financial services companies, and has updated more than 22 000 offshore companies.

On Sunday evening the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) published an investigation dubbed “Pandora Papers” highlighting how leaders covered up 000 300 billions of dollars in offshore companies.

In total, links have been established by the ICIJ between offshore assets and 300 leading leaders and politicians, who have created almost 1 companies, of which more than two thirds are in the British Virgin Islands.

Who are the people mentioned in the survey?

The King of Jordan, the Presidents of Kenya or Ecuador, or the Czech Prime Minister, … all these men are among the leaders cited in the Pandora Papers investigation.

Also appear the names of the former French minister Dominique Strauss-Khan: the former managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has channeled several million dollars of consulting fees to companies through a Moroccan company exempt from taxes , according to documents reviewed by the ICIJ.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is also cited for making the purchase of real estate in London through a company abroad.

Apart from political figures, several celebrities are mentioned, such as the Colombian singer Shakira, the German model Claudia Schiffer or the Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar.

Why are they implicated?

The king of Jordannie, Abdallah II, created at least thirty offshore companies, that is to say in countries or territories where the taxation is advantageous.

As for the Czech Prime Minister, Andrej Babis, he placed 22 millions of dollars in shell companies which were used to finance the purchase of Château Bigaud, a large property located in Mougins, in the south of France. “I have never done anything illegal or wrong,” Andrej Babis reacted from his Twitter account, “but that does not prevent them from trying to denigrate me and influence the Czech parliamentary elections”, scheduled for Friday and next Saturday.

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso has lodged funds in two trusts headquartered in the United States, in South Dakota.

In most countries, these facts cannot be prosecuted. But in the case of leaders, the ICIJ parallels the anti-corruption discourse held by some of them with their investments in tax havens. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has repeatedly affirmed his determination to fight corruption in his country and to oblige Kenyan officials to be transparent about their heritage.

What is the ICIJ, the consortium behind the revelations?

Established in 1997 by the American Center for Public Integrity, the ICIJ became an independent entity in 2017. His network counts 280 investigative journalists in more than 100 countries and territories, as well as some 100 partner media, including Le Monde and Radio France.

The ICIJ became known at the beginning of April 2016, with the publication of the “Panama Papers”, an investigation based on some 11, 5 million documents from a Panamanian law firm.

“It shows that the people who could put an end to the secrecy of the offshore, to put an end to what goes on there, benefit themselves from it”, commented the director of the ICIJ, Gerard Ryle, in a video. published Sunday. “We’re talking about trillions of dollars.”

For Maira Martini, researcher at the NGO Transparency International, this investigation provides new “clear proof that the offshore industry plays into the hands of corruption and financial crime, while obstructing justice”. “This economic model” based on financial secrecy “cannot continue”.

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