Pandora Papers highlight how wealthy use offshore companies

Jordanian King Abdullah II gestures as he delivers a speech at the European Parliament, on Jan. 15, 2020, in Strasbourg, France. Frederick Florin/AFP via Getty Images/TNS

A sprawling investigation by an international consortium of journalists and news organizations uncovered millions of documents detailing how rich and politically connected individuals across the globe use offshore companies to avoid taxes and hoard wealth.

The report published Sunday by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists linked world leaders including the King of Jordan, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to entities registered in locales including Panama and the British Virgin Islands that allowed them to hide their ownership of vast assets.

Aides and allies of politicians who have railed against corruption and urged reforms, including Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, were also shown to have taken advantage of accounting and tax loopholes enabled by offshore entities.

More than 600 journalists from 150 news outlets such as The Guardian and The Washington Post worked together to analyze the more than 11.9 million confidential files obtained for the report, making it larger than the organization’s previous Panama Papers investigation.

Here are some other key findings:

— King Abdullah II of Jordan owns international property worth more than $100 million, including a cliff-top mansion on California’s Malibu coast, The Guardian reported. Lawyers for the king told the newspaper that he hadn’t misused any public funds and that he acts with “integrity and in the best interests of his country and its citizens at all times.”

— In a series of tweets, Pakistan’s Imran Khan wrote that his government will investigate “all of our citizens” named in the documents. The report from the ICIJ indicated seven politicians from Pakistan.

— Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, who is up for reelection this week, hid his purchase of a $22 million French chateau in 2009 using shell companies. Babis didn’t respond to requests for comment, according to the Washington Post.

— U.S. states including South Dakota, Nevada and Delaware have become havens for financial secrecy, with vehicles known as “trusts” allowing wealthy individuals to remain anonymous in their financial dealings.

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