A huge leak of confidential documents has revealed how the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth
The largest journalistic leak in history, which came to light on Sunday with the participation of the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, suggests that 140 politicians and officials from around the globe, including 72 former and current world leaders, have connections with secret “offshore” companies to escape tax scrutiny in their countries.
The leak involves 11.5 million documents from one of the world’s largest offshore law firms, Mossack Fonseca, and implicates Russian President Vladimir Putin with secret offshore financial deals to channel and launder money.
Among the other politicians implicated in the leak are Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and many others.
In Latin America
At least 57 people already linked to Brazil's huge Petrobras corruption scandal opened offshore companies through Mossack Fonseca, local media reported. Topping the list is a company that reportedly belongs to Eduardo Cunha, the speaker of the lower house of Brazil's legislature and the man heading efforts to impeach President Dilma Rousseff.
President Mauricio Macri, his father, and brother Mariano were on the board of directors of an offshore company registered in the Bahamas since 1998, the daily La Nacion reported. The company was in operation until 2009, two years into Macri's tenure as Buenos Aires mayor.
Juan Armando Hinojosa Cantu, one of Mexico's richest tycoons and head of the Higa business group hid at least $100 million in offshore companies that stretch to New Zealand, according to the website Aristegui Noticias. When the government exonerated Pena Nieto for a possible conflict of interest in the case in 2015, Hinojosa transferred millions of dollars to offshore companies in New Zealand,
Two major supporters of Keiko Fujimori -- who is leading the polls in Peru's upcoming presidential election -- have undeclared interests in offshore companies set up by Mossack Fonseca, according to the news website Ojo Publico.
In Colombia names laie Victor Carranza who was known as the Emerald Zar and a brother in law of the former Bogota Mayor Gustabo Petro came to light among politicians, big business owners, and drug traffickers
Over 241.000 mensions of Venezuela in the massive leak, includes names of ex-presidential security chief and wife, who amassed a fortune among the most relevant.
Although owning an offshore company is not a crime in itself, the documents show that banks, legal firms and other offshore actors often failed to follow legal requirements to ensure that their clients were not involved in criminal activities, tax evasion or political corruption.
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