Some 11.9 million leaked financial documents, dubbed as the “Pandora Papers,” have revealed the secret offshore affairs of 35 current and former world leaders and 336 other public officials in over 91 countries and territories.
The documents from financial services companies around the world come as part of a massive global investigation published on Oct. 3 by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), involving around 600 journalists from 150 news outlets.
According to the investigation, the documents revealed that King Abdullah II of Jordan has amassed a secret $100 million property empire in the United States and in the United Kingdom.
Lawyers for King Abdullah said that all the properties were bought using personal wealth, BBC News reported.
The documents also exposed Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis — who is facing an election later this week — of using an offshore investment company to purchase the $22 million Chateau Bigaud in southern France.
Other world leaders exposed in the documents include the presidents of Ukraine, Kenya, Ecuador, and Cyprus, Russian billionaires close to President Vladimir Putin, and other billionaires, including celebrities and tech moguls, from other countries.
The documents also revealed that the U.S. is the leading tax haven in the world, with the state of South Dakota appearing as the biggest tax haven.
ICIJ, however, noted that in most countries, having assets offshore or using shell companies to conduct business across national borders is not illegal.
“But these affairs often amount to shifting profits from high-tax countries, where they are earned, to companies that exist only on paper in low-tax jurisdictions. Using offshore shelters is especially controversial for political figures, because they can be used to keep politically unpopular or even illicit activities from public view,” ICIJ added.
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