April 5, 2016

Bank Records Reveal Politicians and Celebrities Hiding Funds To Avoid Taxes

The so-called Panama Papers implicate those in Russian president Vladimir Putin's inner circle. This graphic shows how Putin's best friend Sergei Roldugin, who owns 3.2 per cent of Bank Rossiya, and the man who heads the bank up, Yuri Kovalchuk, are linked to a trail which has seen money moved offshore via Swiss lawyers, Mossack Fonseca, and a subsidiary of Russia's state-owned VTB bank in Cyprus to a firm set up in the British Virgin Islands called Sandalwood Continental Ltd. Money was then lent to Ozon, which owns the private Igora ski resort outside St Petersburg, the place where Putin's daughter Katya got married.
[From article]
The biggest financial data leak in history has revealed how Vladimir Putin's inner circle and a 'dirty dozen' list of world leaders are using offshore tax havens to hide their wealth.
A host of celebrities, sports stars, British politicians and the global rich are all implicated in the so-called Panama Papers - a leak of 11million files which contain more data than the amount stolen by former CIA contractor Edward Snowden in 2013.
Documents were leaked from one of the world's most secretive companies, Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, and show how the company has allegedly helped clients launder money, dodge sanctions and evade tax.
Megastars Jackie Chan and Lionel Messi are among the big names accused of using Mossack Fonseca to invest their millions offshore. And the Panama Papers also reveal that the £26million stolen during the Brink's Mat robbery in 1983 may have been channelled into an offshore company set up by the controversial law firm.
Meanwhile, Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak, Libya's former leader Colonel Gaddafi, Syria's president Bashar al-Assad and Chinese president Xi Jinping are among those alleged to have links to tax havens through families and associates.
Lord Ashcroft, Baroness Pamela Sharples and former Tory MP Michael Mates are the only British politicians who have been named in the data release so far, while several dictators make up the 12 world leaders listed.
[. . .]
The unprecedented leak of confidential documents reveal:
A network of secret offshore deals and loans worth £1.4 billion that leads to Russian President Vladimir Putin;
Twelve national leaders, including the King of Saudi Arabia, president of Ukraine and the prime minister of Iceland, are among 143 politicians revealed to have offshore accounts, including several dictators;
Six members of the House of Lords, three former Conservative MPs and dozens of donors to British political parties are among those said to have benefited from tax havens;
A member of Fifa's ethics committee, which is supposed to be reforming the organisation, worked as a lawyer for people charged with bribery and corruption.
[. . .]
Among the disclosures are that six members of the House of Lords and three former Conservative MPs had offshore accounts, although the only British politicians so far named are Lord Ashcroft, Tory peer Baroness Pamela Sharples and former Conservative MP Michael Mates. Dozens of donors to UK political parties had similar arrangements, the leak reveals.
A representative for Mr Mates said the reference to the former Tory MP in the ‘Panama Papers’ related to a small shareholding the politician once held in a Bahamian company.
He insisted the company was set up legitimately to create a leisure development in Barbuda, an island that is part of the East Caribbean state of Antigua and Barbuda.
Mr Mates said he had not and would not receive any remuneration ‘unless and until the development took place, nor were the shares of any value,’ as the company ‘never had any real value’. He denies he has ever sought to avoid paying taxes.
Campaigners said David Cameron now faces a 'credibility test', having promised to end tax secrecy four years ago.
[. . .]
The data covers nearly 40 years, from 1977 to the end of 2015, and lists nearly 15,600 paper companies set up for clients who wanted to keep their financial affairs secret.

Thousands were created by UBS and HSBC, the latter of which was fined by the US government for laundering money from Iran.
[. . .]
Among national leaders with offshore wealth are Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan's prime minister, and Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, prime minister of Iceland – who now faces calls for a snap election.
The leaks also reveal a suspected billion-dollar money laundering ring that was run by a Russian bank and involved close associates of President Putin.


Putin and the 'Dirty Dozen': 11million leaked documents reveal how TWELVE world leaders – plus Russian leader's inner circle, British politicians and Lords – hide their millions in tax havens
11million financial documents have been leaked from Panamanian law firm
Show how world's rich and powerful use offshore tax havens to hide wealth
Twelve current or former world leaders implicated along with UK politicians
Russian president Vladimir Putin's friends appear to have earned millions
Leak is bigger than the amount of data stolen by Edward Snowden in 2013
German newspaper obtained documents but identity of source is unknown
By Sam Tonkin For Mailonline and Daniel Bates and Daniel Martin and James Slack for the Daily Mail
Published: 14:51 EST, 3 April 2016 | Updated: 17:38 EST, 4 April 2016

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