[HOT] Panama Papers: 11.5 million files spilling the beans on hidden money and tax evasion of world leaders and their friends and families!

Read all the details of Panama Papers here

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World leaders, stars of the pitch and screen and dozens of billionaires were among those named and shamed in what looks to be the biggest-ever leak of inside information in history.

Covering 40 years of e-mails, financial records and passport details, an investigation by more than 100 media groups shows how some of the world’s most powerful people have secreted away their money in offshore jurisdictions.

Below are some of the main allegations made in Sunday’s (April 3) release based on documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca:

  • Two leaders who have staked their reputations on pushing for transparency – Chinese President Xi Jinping and British Prime Minister David Cameron – have at some point had family links to offshore companies.

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron (right) with Chinese President Xi Jinping. PHOTO: REUTERS
  • The son of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak owns two offshore companies.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak. PHOTO: EPA

– The world’s best football player, Lionel Messi, and his father own a shell company, Mega Star Enterprises, previously unknown to Spanish investigators probing the Barcelona forward’s tax affairs.

Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi. PHOTO: AFP

– The files also identify a convicted money launderer who claimed he’d arranged a US$50,000 illegal campaign contribution used to pay the Watergate burglars, 29 billionaires from Forbes’ rich list, and martial arts film star Jackie Chan.

International star Jackie Chan. PHOTO: ST FILE

– Banks, companies and aides close to Russian President Vladimir Putin secretly shuffled as much as US$2 billion (S$2.7 billion) using offshore companies, gaining hidden influence in the country’s media and automotive industries. The Kremlin has accused the ICIJ of launching a misleading “information attack”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin. PHOTO: REUTERS
  • Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson and his wife used an offshore company, Wintris Inc., to hide millions of dollars of investments in three major banks during the financial crisis. He has denied any wrongdoing but faces a vote of no confidence this week.

  • Several other world leaders, including the prime minister of Pakistan, the king of Saudi Arabia and the children of the president of Azerbaijan, also control offshore companies.

  • Mossack Fonseca worked with at least 33 people and companies blacklisted by Washington because of business links to Mexican drug lords, terrorist organisations or rogue nations, including North Korea. One supplied fuel for planes the US alleges Syria’s regime used to bomb its own citizens.

  • The firm’s customers include Ponzi schemers, drug kingpins, tax evaders and a US businessman convicted of travelling to Russia to have sex with underage orphans, who signed papers for an offshore company while in jail.

  • Fifa’s ethics committee member Juan Pedro Damiani had business ties with three men indicted in the corruption scandal engulfing football’s governing body.

At least 33 people and companies in the documents were blacklisted by the US government for wrongdoing, such as North Korea and Iran, as well as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, the ICIJ said.

The leaked data from 1975 to the end of last year provides what the ICIJ described as a “never-before-seen view inside the offshore world”.

Names also figuring in the leak included the President of Ukraine, the King of Saudi Arabia and the Prime Minister of Pakistan, the ICIJ statement said.

“These findings show how deeply ingrained harmful practices and criminality are in the offshore world,” said Mr Gabriel Zucman, an economist at the US-based University of California, Berkeley, cited by the consortium.

The leaked documents were reviewed by a team of more than 370 reporters from over 70 countries, according to the ICIJ.

The BBC cited Mossack Fonseca as saying it had operated “beyond reproach” for 40 years and had never been charged with any criminal wrongdoing.

It was not immediately clear who was the original source of the leaked documents.

Panama’s government vowed Sunday to “vigorously cooperate” with any legal probe that might be launched in the wake of the “Panama Papers” data leak.

“The Panamanian government will vigorously cooperate with any request or assistance necessary in the event of any legal action occurring,” it said in a statement.

Author: SoYAd

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