Pandora Papers Exposes How World Leaders Use Offshore Tax Havens


A massive new leak of documents has exposed how dozens of former and present leaders in countries such as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine, plus hundreds of others are linked to companies that use offshore tax havens to hide their wealth.

That’s the finding of a new investigation carried out by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released on October 3.

The secret documents expose offshore dealings of the king of Jordan, the presidents of Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan, the prime minister of the Czech Republic, and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The files also detail the financial activities of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s "unofficial minister of propaganda" and more than 130 billionaires from Russia, the United States, Turkey, and other countries.

The secret records, known as the Pandora Papers, show that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy transferred his stake in a secret offshore company just before he won the 2019 election. A spokesman for Zelensky declined to comment.

Other documents show how the family of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has secretly acquired property in London worth nearly $700 million using offshore companies.

Aliyev’s administration did not respond to requests for comments on the allegations, nor did members of his family.

The unofficial third wife of Kazakhstan’s former president, Nursultan Nazarbaev, received $30 million apparently for almost nothing, other leaked offshore documents show.

Nazarbaev did not respond to requests for comment on the claims.

The leaked records show that Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis in 2009 injected $22 million into a string of shell companies to buy a mansion with two swimming pools and a cinema on a hilltop village in the French Riviera, near Cannes. found that the ownership of the shell companies and homes was not listed in the asset declarations he filed.

Babis did not respond to requests for comment.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists obtained the trove of 11.9 million confidential files from 14 offshore service firms from around the world that set up shell companies and other nooks for clients.

A team of more than 600 journalists from 150 news outlets spent two years sifting through them, tracking down sources, and digging into court files and other public records from dozens of countries.

The publishing of the Pandora Papers comes five years after the explosive Panama Papers investigation in 2016.

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