The secret deals and hidden assets of some of the world’s richest and most powerful people have been revealed in the biggest trove of leaked offshore data in history.
Branded the Pandora papers, the cache includes 11.9m files from companies hired by wealthy clients to create offshore structures and trusts in tax havens such as Panama, Dubai, Monaco, Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.
They expose the secret offshore affairs of 35 world leaders, including current and former presidents, prime ministers and heads of state. They also shine a light on the secret finances of more than 300 other public officials such as government ministers, judges, mayors and military generals in more than 90 countries.
No less than 10 Nigerian politicians were implicated in the Pandora Papers with at least eight African countries featured in the document.
In all, there are 336 politicians listed in the document, according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which published the earth-shaking papers on Sunday.
The ‘Pandora Papers’ is an investigation based on one of the biggest-ever leaks of financial documents which, on Sunday, exposed a hidden world of shielded wealth belonging to hundreds of politicians and billionaires.
Considered as one of the largest ever global media investigations, the Pandora Papers involved more than 600 journalists who, together, analysed some 11.9 million documents from financial services companies around the world.
They found links between almost 1,000 companies in offshore havens and 336 high-level politicians and public officials, including more than a dozen serving heads of state and government.
According to an interactive map of the leaked documents, five Côte d’Ivoire politicians were helped by foreign agents to stash money suspected to be looted away from public view.
Ghana has three politicians listed in the documents, which has been described as “An offshore data tsunami.”
Chad, Kenya and Congo Brazzaville have two politicians each listed in the infamous documents that had reportedly sent shivers down the spines of public figures globally; while Gabon has three politicians listed.
Angola has nine politicians listed in the document, while Zimbabwe and South Africa have two each.
Mozambique has one.
The Pandora papers represent the latest – and largest in terms of data volume – in a series of major leaks of financial data that have convulsed the offshore world since 2013.
Setting up or benefiting from offshore entities is not itself illegal, and in some cases people may have legitimate reasons, such as security, for doing so. But the secrecy offered by tax havens has at times proven attractive to tax evaders, fraudsters and money launderers, some of whom are exposed in the files.