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28 November, 2021
 
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Cypriot president’s law firm accused in Pandora Papers

President Nicos Anastasiades denies any knowledge of ex-law firm helping Russian billionaire hide assets

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Cypriot President denies any knowledge of his ex law firm alleged to have hidden assets of a controversial Russian billionaire, following bombshell allegations of dozens of world and public leaders linked to secret financial dealings.

In the latest reveal of leaked financial information branded "Pandora Papers" by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists revealed on Sunday, there were over 35 world leaders, including current and former presidents, prime ministers and heads of state, who are implicated in an expose of secret offshore affairs.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades was among heads of state, rich and famous, and other public officials in more than 90 countries accused of wrongdoing or seeking offshore structures and trusts in tax havens.

Alcogal said the Cypriot law firm claimed four offshore companies were beneficially owned by the firm’s staff but the broker later had come to suspect the true owner was the Russian businessman

Anastasiades' ex law firm in Limassol, Nicos Chr. Anastasiades & Partners, appears in the Pandora Papers as having been accused of filing false information to Alcogal, a Panamanian offshore company broker.

According to ICIJ, Alcogal had told financial regulators in the British Virgin Islands back in June 2015 that the Cypriot law firm had claimed four offshore companies managed in Limassol were beneficially owned by the firm’s staff.

But the broker said it had come to believe it had been misled after starting to suspect the true owner was Russian businessman and former senator Leonid Lebedev, now a Hollywood film producer, who had fled his home country in 2015 after being accused of failing to declare his assets.

Lebedev, thought to have received a golden passport through Cyprus’ disgraced Citizenship by Investment Program, has denied the allegations.

The Cypriot president, who says he left the firm before he ever became president, has also denied any wrongdoing in a statement to The Guardian.

“I have no knowledge and it would be impossible for me to know and be in a position to respond to any allegations concerning the handling of the affairs of my ex-law firm,” Anastasiades said.

Anastasiades & Partners has also strongly denied filing false information to the broker.

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