A massive leak of information from a law firm in Panama has exposed how the rich and powerful are hiding their money overseas.
Although not directly named, Vladimir Putin can allegedly be traced back through his associates. Investigators claim he ‘secretly shuffled as much as $2 billion through banks and shadow companies’.
Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi owns a shell company along with his father, Mega Star Enterprises, which was previously unknown to Spanish investigators probing the Barcelona forward’s tax affairs.
Others names include:
Film star Jackie Chan
President of Argentina Mauricio Macri
President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko
King of Saudi Arabia King Salman bin Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al Saud
Iceland’s premier Sigmundur
David Gunnlaugsson (allegedly invested millions during his country’s financial crisis)
Family of Chinese president Xi Jinping
People and companies with business links to Mexican drug lords, terrorist organisations or rogue nations, including North Korea.
Ponzi schemers, drug kingpins and tax evaders
A US businessman convicted of travelling to Russia to have sex with underage orphans, who signed papers for an offshore company while in jail
29 billionaires from Forbes’ rich list
Lord Ashcroft (who wrote the book alleging David Cameron put a ‘private part of his anatomy’ in a
dead pig’s head)
Baroness Pamela Sharples, a Tory politician
Former Tory MP Michael Mates
An anonymous source leaked the files to German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung. The documents came from Mossack Fonseca, a law firm with offices in more than 35 countries.
One of the law firm’s founders, Ramon Fonseca, told AFP the leaks were ‘a crime, a felony’ and ‘an attack on Panama’.
‘Certain countries don’t like it that we are so competitive in attracting companies,’ he said.
The government of Panama said it had ‘zero tolerance’ for shady deals and would work with any legal investigations.
Those who have responded so far said they didn’t have any financial benefit, did not use the company or did not act illegally.