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25 October, 2021
 
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More than 330 current and former politicians identified as beneficiaries of secret accounts

Pandora papers shed light on previously hidden dealings of the elite and the corrupt

Source: CNA

A huge leak of financial documents published by several major news outlets on Sunday reportedly linked world leaders to secret wealth stockpiles, including King Abdullah of Jordan, Czech Prime Minister Andrzej Bremen and Prime Minister Andrei Bredo.

According to Reuters, the leak of more than 11.9 million files, amounting to 2.94 terabytes of data, came five years after the leak that was known as the "Panama Papers", which brought to light how the rich hide money in a way to be undetectable by authorities.

The Washington-based International Network of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which is an international network of investigative reporting and news organizations, reports that the files are linked to some 35 incumbent and former heads of state and government of 91 countries and territories.

It does not say how the files were obtained and Reuters could not independently verify the allegations or documents submitted by the network.

The King of Jordan, a close ally of the United States, has reportedly used offshore accounts to spend more than $100 million on luxury homes in the United Kingdom and the United States.

The King of Jordan, a close ally of the United States, has reportedly used offshore accounts to spend more than $100 million on luxury homes in the United Kingdom and the United States.

The London-based law firm DLA Piper, which represents the king, told the ICIJ that "it has never misused public money or proceeds aid or support groups intended for public use".

The Washington Post, which is part of the partnership, also writes about the case of Svetlana Krivonogich, a Russian woman who, according to the newspaper, became the owner of an apartment in Monaco through a coastal company set up in the Caribbean island of Tortola in April 2003, just months after giving birth to a baby girl. At the time, she had a secret long-standing relationship with Putin, the newspaper added, citing Russian investigative media outlet Proekt.

The Washington Post writes that neither Krivonogich, her 18 year old daughter, nor the Kremlin responded to requests for comment on the article.

A few days before the Czech parliamentary elections on October 8 and 9, documents were published linking the Prime Minister to a secret estate in a mountain village near Cannes, France, worth $22 million.

Speaking during a televised debate on Sunday, Mr Babis denied any wrongdoing. "The money left a bank in the Czech Republic, was taxed, it was my money and it was returned to a bank in the Czech Republic," he said.

The documents also refer to Indian businessman Anil Abani and his representatives who appear as owners of at least 18 coastal companies in Jersey, British Virgin Islands and Cyprus, according to Indian Express.

Seven of these companies, set up between 2007 and 2010, have borrowed and invested at least $1.3 billion, according to the report.

In 2020, following a dispute with three state-owned banks in China, Abani, head of the Reliance Group, told a court in London that his assets were zero.

An unnamed lawyer told the newspaper on behalf of the businessman that "our client is a tax resident of India and has made declarations to the Indian authorities in accordance with the requirements and in compliance with the law.
"During the statement made before the court in London, all the required issues were taken into account. Reliance Group conducts business worldwide and companies are established in different jurisdictions for legitimate business purposes and comply with regulatory requirements," he added.

Mr Abani himself did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Cyprus  |  Pandora  |  corrupt  |  politicians

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