Political and trade ties to Pandora Papers rock parliaments, fight against corruption and tax authorities as global fallout swells

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The political fallout from the Pandora Papers is spreading more and more across the world as nations react to the involvement of political leaders in shadowy offshore finance, as the investigation revealed.

For a second week, the conclusions drawn from the largest offshore data breach ever have shocked parliaments, tax authorities and transparency groups.

And by a remarkable coincidence, US President Joe Biden is due to meet his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta, this Thursday, October 14, to discuss “the need to bring transparency and accountability to national and international financial systems.”

Kenyatta is one of more than 330 current and former politicians and senior officials named in the Pandora Papers as beneficiaries of secret accounts.

The Associated Press reported that the Pandora Papers revelations are expected to be brought up at the Oval Office meeting.

Since the weekend, new countries have joined more than a dozen countries that had already pledged investigations from the Pandora Papers, a groundbreaking investigation led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and 150 media partners in more than 110 countries around the world.

On Sunday, the Ecuadorian legislature voted to launch an investigation into President Guillermo Lasso’s offshore finances to determine whether the head of state broke the law by moving money to tax havens, according to the news.

Reports from the ICIJ and its partners showed that Lasso had ties to 10 offshore companies and trusts in Panama, South Dakota and Delaware.

In response, Lasso told the ICIJ that “any past use of an international entity” was legitimate and that none of the offshore entities were related to his public service. Lasso too would have said that it dissolved its offshore entities in order to participate in the presidential election.

Lawmakers said the investigation into Lasso’s offshore activity would examine whether Lasso violated the norm that “prohibits candidates and public officials from having their resources or assets in tax havens.” according to AFP. The investigation would take place over the next 30 days.

In Ukraine, the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption is examining statements by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the head of the Ukrainian security services, Ivan Bakanov. NAPC Chairman Oleksandr Novikov said the agency would take into account information released as part of the Pandora Papers investigation.

The Pandora Papers have revealed that Zelenskyy and some of his close associates hold shares in an anonymous offshore entity. Documents show that Zelenskyy owned a stake in a shell company registered in the British Virgin Islands called Maltex Multicapital Corp, which is described in the leaked documents as owning shares in film production and distribution companies. Zelenskyy did not respond to repeated requests for comment from ICIJ partners during the Pandora Papers report.

In Canada, national tax authorities have announced that they are reviewing information from Pandora Papers on local taxpayers. The Canada Revenue Agency said it is “currently identifying how to integrate information from Pandora Papers” with agency data and “is working with our international partners to pool resources and share information to develop a precise picture of what the data is telling us “, according to News from CTV in Canada.

Last week, the Toronto Star, one of ICIJ’s partners in Canada, revealed offshore holdings many high-profile Canadians, including billionaires, an Olympian and a pornography mogul. The CRA’s announcement follows calls from Ottawa lawmakers for investigations in response to the reports.

“According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, we lose over $ 25 billion each year to tax havens abroad,” said finance critic Peter Julian of the New Democratic Party. according to Toronto Star. “It is simply an untenable situation when the ultra-rich get away with so many Canadians struggling with so little.

In Costa Rica, the authorities announcement that the local tax agency will deal with the involvement of Costa Rican taxpayers using offshore maneuvers revealed in the Pandora Papers.

In authoritarian Azerbaijan, where elections are rigged and political opponents suppressed, an opposition party demands an explanation from the country’s president, Ilham Aliyev, on the nomination of Aliyev and certain members of his family in the Pandora Papers .

According to the JAMnews website, the Movement for Democracy and Prosperity, an Azerbaijani opposition group led by an American activist, called on the Aliyevs to publicly explain important real estate deals with offshore connections.

“No one doubts that the dirty money of corruption is at the origin of this affair. Because it would take 3,070 years for Ilham Aliyev to accumulate such an amount, given his average salary over the period considered, ”said the group’s statement.

In Uruguay, the government entity investigating money laundering and terrorist financing will launch an investigation into the role of certain law firms operating in the country that provide offshore services to clients around the world.

Partner of ICIJ Semanario Búsqueda reported that the agency said it was analyzing whether anti-money laundering authorities should oversee the work of the company Aleman, Cordero, Galindo & Lee (Alcogal), which has an office in Montevideo. Alcogal is one of 14 offshore service providers whose leaked documents form the basis of Pandora Papers’ investigation.


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