Pandora Papers, Espresso: ‘Offshore treasures for heads of state and VIPs’

“Twelve million highly confidential documents unmask the offshore of politicians, stars of sports and entertainment, generals and big names in business. From the king of Jordan to the Ukrainian president, from the Dutch minister to African dictators, from Julio Iglesias to Claudia Schiffer”. This is what is revealed by a worldwide investigation that collects about 12 million new files of the Pandora Papers, conducted by the Icij Investigative Journalists Consortium and anticipated by L’Espresso, which is part of the 150 international newspapers that worked on the investigation. “Five years after the Panama Papers – reads the anticipation of L’Espresso -, an even wider international journalistic investigation reveals the wealth hidden in tax havens by thousands of powerful people from all over the world. There are 35 heads of state or government. More than 300 politicians from over ninety nations: ministers, party leaders, parliamentarians. Together with generals, heads of secret services, public and private managers, bankers, industrialists “.” The new papers, called Pandora Papers, document a myriad of very rich deals with the names of the beneficiaries, hitherto kept secret. The list of shareholders shielded by the veil of offshore companies includes the premier of the Czech Republic, the Dutch Minister of Economy, the former head of the British government Tony Blair, the King of Jordan and presidents of countries such as Ukraine, Kenya, Chile, Ecuador The names of many celebrities from sports, fashion and entertainment stand out, but there are also criminals. Former terrorists. Bankrupts. Drug traffickers. And mafia bosses, including Italians, with their treasurers. “The investigation, coordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), is called Pandora Papers because it opens a world-wide pot of poisons. More than 11.9 million documents with the names of over 29,000 beneficiaries of offshore companies, unknown until recently. Behind the papers in the name of the trustees, investments and foreign assets of European and South American politicians, African dictators, Asian ministers, Arab sheikhs emerge for the first time. secrets of 46 Russian oligarchs. Offshore companies that clear taxes on a super caste of over 130 American, Indian, Mexican and other multi-billionaires. The results of the investigation, which lasted almost two years, are the result of the collective work of over 600 journalists from 150 international newspapers, including Espresso exclusively for Italy. From the Washington Post to Le Monde, from the BBC to El Pais, from Russian sites to South American newspapers, Indians, Australians and Africans, from Espresso to Swedish and German TV, journalists from 117 different countries have committed themselves to working together, exchanging news and documents, photographs and contacts every day on an IT platform developed by the consortium. And to publish the results of the investigation at the same time, in unison, starting at 6.30pm today, Sunday 3 October. “Pandora Papers is the largest collective investigation in the history of journalism”, writes Icij in the presentation article. “The Pandora Papers – read on the Espresso website – document, among a thousand other stories never told before, which the King of Jordan, Abdullah II, bought villas and land in the United States and London, for over 100 million euros, through personal offshore, while his government received billions from the United States to fight terrorism and avoid an Arab revolution in a country ally. To the consortium’s questions, the King of Jordan, through a spokesman, replied that he, as a sovereign, does not pay taxes. And his foreign investments have not been declared for security and privacy reasons “.” In Europe, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, who heads a right-wing populist government, used screen companies in the British Virgin Islands to buy a 22 million mansion on the Cote d’Azur in 2009. foreign age to the authorities of your country. Where in 2017 he won the elections by promising to fight corruption and the privileges of the elites. In the Netherlands, the Minister of Economy, Wopke Hoekstra, a Christian Democrat, who has often attacked Italy in the name of financial rigor, joined an offshore company controlled by a consortium of former managers of a banking giant in Amsterdam in 2009. Abn-Amro. And so he became one of the anonymous shareholders of a well-known safari company in Africa. He remained in the offshore even after his election as senator. And he never declared his foreign investment. “In Ukraine,” the head of state, Volodimyr Zelensky, a former comedian brought to success by a TV show, has secretly owned for years, through an offshore company, a production company and distribution of films and TV programs. In March 2019, a month before the vote, he sold his shares to a friend, Sergiy Shefir, who after the electoral success was appointed by Zelensky as first public adviser to the Ukrainian presidency. On 22 September Shefir escaped a mysterious assassination attempt: an armed commando injured his driver. In Cyprus, the Anastasiades & Partners firm has helped several Moscow oligarchs, as internal correspondence reveals, to create new offshore to escape international sanctions. In Russia, however, the most surprising deal concerns Svetlana Krivonogikh, indicated by the independent press as an ex-girlfriend and mother of a daughter not recognized by Vladimir Putin. The Pandora Papers reveal that the president’s friend is the beneficiary of an offshore company set up in 2003, exactly one month after the baby’s birth, which bought a seaside residence in the Principality of Monaco for $ 3 million and $ 600,000. A deal managed by the same trustees who still work for the oligarchs closest to President Putin. At the time of the alleged flirtation Svetlana worked as a cleaner in a hotel. Today he has a personal wealth of over 100 million “, continues the Espresso website. The Panama Papers, the journalistic investigation that in 2016 revealed the secrets of offshore for the first time, was based on the confidential documents of a law firm, Mossack Fonseca. They come from 14 international companies, based from Dubai to Singapore, from Cyprus to the British Virgin Islands, from Belize to the Seychelles, up to Panama City itself, where this time the leak concerns the firm Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee (Alcogal), which has among its founders a former Panamanian ambassador to the United States. Documents obtained by the Icij consortium cover 25 years of offshore operations, from 1996 to 2020, but the first papers date back to 1970. Each of the 14 “offshore providers “Has a constellation of offices and branches in dozens of tax havens, which function as factories of limited companies, made available to internationally renowned banks, tax consultants and law firms, which treat rich clients from all over the world. Among the many celebrities seduced by offshore “appear the German super model Claudia Schiffer, registered with her mother’s surname, music stars such as Shakira and Elton John, big internationals in football, motorcycling and other sports such as cricket. Spanish singer Julio Iglesias, 78, is registered as a beneficiary of at least twenty companies in the British Virgin Islands. Zero-tax Caribbean treasuries, used by Iglesias, in particular, to purchase villas and land in Florida, north of Miami, on the exclusive private island of Indian Creek, protected by armed guard bunkers, for a declared value of 111 million dollars “.” Like Mossack Fonseca in Panama, many of the 14 international trust management companies of VIP wealth have very close ties with the political power, which decides the tax laws, and with the supervisory authorities, which should also investigate at the request of foreign magistrates. In Belize – adds Espresso – an offshore paradise that offers guarantees of total anonymity, and for this reason it is frequented by dangerous criminals and big money launderers, the two most important trust agencies were created by the former national attorney general. In Cyprus, the first offshore provider is the legal and tax consultancy firm founded by the current President of the Republic, Nicos Anastasiades, and today run by his two daughters. “” But with money, friends in paradise are also close to the Italy. The Pandora Papers – we still read – show that a Camorra boss, Raffaele Amato, used a trust company based in Monte Carlo to shield the property of an English safe company, which bought land and buildings in Spain. Amato was the leader of the ‘splinters’, the alliance of Camorra clans that was at the center of the bloody mafia war that inspired the book and the television series Gomorrah. Arrested in 2009 after years of inaction in Spain and extradited to Italy, the boss Amato is serving a final sentence of twenty years in prison. Its Montecarlo trustees, contacted several times by the Icij consortium, did not respond to our questions and requests for clarification “. The Pandora Papers also bring to light many new documents on offshore companies, in the name of other Italian citizens,” which were mentioned, without all the details emerging now, in various judicial or tax investigations. For example, the former Nazi-fascist Delfo Zorzi, intercepted by the Italian police in 1997 while he was a fugitive, used a mobile phone registered in the Swiss branch of a mysterious offshore company for more confidential communications. Its existence and its activities in Italy, where Zorzi secretly controlled chain stores and clothing companies, was revealed by a journalistic investigation by Espresso signed by Alessandro Gilioli. The Pandora Papers – continues the Espresso website – now document that Zorzi was a client of Fidinam, a Swiss trust company controlled by prestigious lawyers and former magistrates, which had registered that client with his new Japanese name, Hagen Roi, obtained in Tokyo where he has lived since the 1970s. Tried and convicted in the first instance for the Piazza Fontana massacre, Zorzi was acquitted on appeal and the Supreme Court definitively confirmed his innocence. In his judicial curriculum there is only an old definitive sentence after an arrest in Veneto in 1968 for weapons and explosives “. From the Pandora Papers” also emerge the foreign companies that have ended up at the center of the investigation of the Spanish tax authorities on Carlo Ancelotti, the former football player who now coaches Real Madrid, after years of success in Italy and abroad. Ancelotti – it is explained – did not answer the questions sent by Espresso, El Pais and the Icij consortium. Total silence also from Zorzi-Hagen “.

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