Meet the European leaders named in the Pandora Papers – POLITICO
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A number of prominent European politicians are among those named in the ‘Pandora Papers’, a huge to flee of documents that reveal how the rich and powerful use offshore companies to hide their wealth.
People sometimes use offshore companies in purchasing for legitimate security or privacy reasons. It is not illegal to do so.
Here is a list of big names in Europe, according to documents obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
Billionaire elected Prime Minister of the Czech Republic in 2017, BabiÅ¡ is accused of secretly paying $ 22 million for a villa near Cannes, France, in 2009. The money used to purchase the villa was channeled through corporations screens in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Washington and a management company in Monaco called SCP Bigaud. When BabiÅ¡ – who founded the agricultural conglomerate Agrofert – entered politics in 2013, the companies were still active, and yet the companies, as well as the villa, were not publicly disclosed by the Czech leader. Babic has brush revelations, suggesting that they simply showed that he had “bought real estate in 2009”.
ÃukanoviÄ, a former prime minister and now president who dominated politics in Montenegro for decades, established two trusts in BVI in 2012 with the help of Swiss company LJ Management – one under his own name and the another under the name of his son. The trusts were funded by “career income and investment products”, but no information on the assets held by the trusts is available. ÃukanoviÄ said that the trust, which was created when he wanted to do business with his son, never had any business activity, did not invest any funds in it and did not ‘opened no bank account. Records show that ÃukanoviÄ’s son also owned two BVI front companies.
Ukrainian President Zelenskiy, a former actor who took office in 2019 on a promise to root out corruption, owned a front film production company in the British Virgin Islands. According to documents, he transferred so-called beneficial owner shares to a close friend and business partner before the 2019 election. The friend, Serhiy Shefir, retained his shares even after Zelenskiy became president and Shefir joined his administration in Kiev. Zelenskiy did not respond to the data breach.
The former UK Prime Minister registered a UK property rental company in early 2017. That summer the company bought a BVI entity that owned an $ 8.8million property in London. By acquiring the business and not the property itself, Blair saved over $ 400,000 in property taxes, which was legal. The property now houses the headquarters of his wife Cherie’s law firm. Cherie Blair commented that “all the arrangements made were made for the express purpose of bringing the business and building back into the UK tax and regulatory regime and all taxes have since been paid and all accounts opened in accordance with the law”.
The Dutch finance minister acquired shares in a BVI company named Candace Management in 2009, followed by other shares in 2013 and 2014, while he was a Dutch senator. Other shareholders of Candace Management include executives from ABN AMRO bank, a major Dutch financial institution. Records show that Hoekstra held 627 shares of Candace Management in May 2017 and claimed to have sold them before taking office as finance minister in October 2017.
Dalli, who resigned his post as Malta’s EU Commissioner in 2012, is named a business owner in the British Virgin Islands which he did not disclose when he was a national MP. He says the company was “inactive” and that he “resigned” when he learned that he was given a Cabinet position in 2008. Dalli’s daughters became company directors a few months later.
Dominique Strauss Kahn
The former managing director of the International Monetary Fund and former French finance minister used a Morocco-based company to cash in millions of dollars in advisory fees, many of which were exempt from tax. Among its clients were the oil company Rosneft and the Chinese aeronautical conglomerate HNA Group. In 2018, Strauss-Kahn established another consulting firm in the United Arab Emirates after tax exemptions expired for his Moroccan company.