#Panamapapers: Here are some of the high profile names linked to the “leak of the century”
A ‘leak’ containing nearly 3 terabytes of information has caused furor around the world as it reveals how rich people launder money out of the reach of the government and tax collectors. At least eleven million documents containing 40 years worth of information obtained secretly from one of the world’s most secretive law firms, Mossack Fonseca, based in Panama City, show how the firm has helped clients dodge sanctions and evade taxes by helping to hide money in tax havens and non-extraditable countries. The leak was gotten anonymously by the German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
Fonseca’s clients include Mexican drug lords, terrorist organisations, Arabian kings, celebrities, sports stars, Mafia members and even rich divorcees. The leak has been coined “Panama papers” and is said to be greater than the famous wikileaks of 2012. Some high profile names from around the world have been implicated in the information leak and there are now calls for their arrest. Already, tax authorities in Australia and New Zealand have begun investigations into their citizens mentioned in the document. Public officials from some of Africa’s most corrupt and biggest nations were not left out. South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt all had good representation in the information leak as well.
King Salman Bin Abdul Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al Saud
Recently crowned as Saudi Arabia’s king, King Salman has been implicated in a scandal involving the mortgage of an array of homes worth $36 million in central London using a company in a non-extraditable country, the British Virgin Islands. Meanwhile his son, and Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, has also been implicated in the information leak. Swiss Bank UBS in 2007 opened offshore companies to open bank accounts for the Saudi prince. These damning pieces of information would make Saudi allies rethink their positions and shatter illusions about religious leaders.
Childhood friends of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin
Sergey Roldugin, a Russian musician is a close friend of Vladimir Putin, having introduced the president to his wife and being godfather to his daughter, Mariya Putin. However, being friends of the president also has its own perks. His three offshore companies received advantageous loans from a bank termed “Russia’s personal bank for senior officials” with the influence of the president. Some of the bank loans are “hidden” in a sky resort where another of Putin’s daughters, Katerian got married in 2013. Another of Putin’s friends, billionaire brothers Arkady and Boris Rotenberg were also mentioned in the leak.
Former Nigerian Delta state Governor, James Ibori
The law firm, Mossack Fonseca, was the registered holder of four offshore companies registered to James Ibori and his family members, before his arrest by UK authorities in 2012, where he pleaded guilty in court for laundering and fraud charges. He is expected to be out soon and is set to answer for some crimes in his home country, Nigeria.
South African president Jacob Zuma’s nephew
South Africa’s most controversial president in history, Jacob Zuma is not left out of the scam, somehow. His nephew, Clive Khulubuse Zuma was accused of “questionable oil field deals” when he acquired some in the Democratic Republic of Congo amidst controversy, in 2010 using Mossack Fonseca. In 2015, he was also held responsible as Chairman for the folding up of a Gold mining company in South Africa that resulted in the loss of 5000 jobs. It seems incompetence runs in the Zuma veins.
Deputy chief justice of Kenya’s Supreme Court
Kalpana Rawal is presently fighting a war with Kenya’s justice system which tried to force her to retire when she turned 70 in January, 2016. This information leak shows her as the director of two companies in the British Virgin Islands. She and her husband used offshore companies to buy and sell almost 10 million dollars worth of London real estate. It seems like retirement is the least of her problems now.
Son of Kofi Annan, former UN secretary general
Son of former Secretary general of the United nations, Kojo Annan, was also pointed at in the information leak. Kojo used a Samoan company to buy an apartment in London worth 500,000 dollars in 2003. He is also the director of two companies in the British Virgin Islands. Both Samoa and the British Virgin Islands are non-extraditable. It looks like the son is surely not following on the footsteps of his father.
Angola’s minister of petroleum
Forget Angola’s despot, Jose Eduardo Santos, his appointments seem to learn from him. Angola’s oil minister José Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos is accused of owning offshore companies in Samoa and also inflating their worth. His crimes stretch back to his first stint as minister for petroleum and as the OPEC president.
Other high profile names include Son of former Egyptian president, Hossni Mubarak, Son of former Ghanaian president John Kuffour, Father of UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Legendary Footballer Lionel Messi and former FIFA president Michel Platini.
Soonpeople will ask why journalists in the countries of these people stayed silent, or how the ICIJ really had possession of this leak all of a sudden, but for now the world is content with this victory. Like that Yoruba proverb goes, “Everyday is for the thief, and one day is for the owner.” It sure looks like that day has come.
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