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Pandora papers news – live: World leaders deny wrongdoing after huge leak of financial documents

Trove of secret files lays bare offshore schemes used by world’s richest to hide their fortunes

Jon Sharman,Daniel Keane
Monday 04 October 2021 23:11
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‘Pandora Papers’: Financial secrets of world leaders revealed in data leak

Several world leaders have denied any wrongdoing after a huge leak of documents revealed the secret financial dealings of the global elite.

The Pandora Papers investigation, which involved a consortium of some 600 journalists from a variety of global media outlets, is based on the leak of some 11.9 million documents from 14 financial services companies around the globe.

Among those named in the files are associates of Russian president Vladimir Putin, King Abdullah of Jordan, and Czech prime minister Andrej Babis. All three have issued statements claiming they have done nothing wrong.

“For now it is just not clear what this information is and what it is about,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, adding that “we didn’t see any hidden wealth of Putin’s inner circle in there”.

King Abdullah said claims he used offshore accounts to disguise a £70m hidden property empire were “defamatory and designed to target Jordan’s reputation”.

“Any allegations that link these private properties to public funds or assistance are baseless and deliberate attempts to distort facts,” a statement from the Royal Hashemite Court said on Monday.

Meanwhile on Twitter, Mr Babis said he had done nothing “illegal or wrong” and suggested the leaks were an attempt to “influence the Czech election”, which takes place next week.

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Tories should return donor money, says Labour

Anneliese Dodds, chair of the Labour party, has responded to reports that Tory donor Mohamed Amersi has been linked to a major corruption scandal.

You can read our report on that here.

“It’s really concerning that the Conservatives have accepted hundreds of thousands of pounds from a man who appears to be closely linked to one of Europe’s biggest corruption scandals,” she said.

“The Conservatives should return the money he donated to them and come clean about who else is getting exclusive access to the prime minister and the chancellor in return for cash.”

Jon Sharman4 October 2021 11:19
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Donations to Conservative Party ‘vetted in normal way’, says Johnson

Boris Johnson has commented on reports that a major Conservative Party donor was linked to an allegedly corrupt telecoms deal.

Mohamed Amersi reportedly advised Swedish telecoms giant Telia on a £162m deal with the daughter of Uzbekistan’s former ruler Islam Karimov – a payment later described by the US authorities as a “bribe”.

The prime minister said on Monday: “All I can say on that one is all these donations are vetted in the normal way in accordance with rules that were set up under a Labour government. So, we vet them the whole time.”

Jon Sharman4 October 2021 11:36
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Jon Sharman4 October 2021 11:50
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Russia hits out at ‘largely unsubstantiated claims'

The Kremlin’s press secretary has dismissed the so-called Pandora papers, which purport to link Vladimir Putin to secret assets in Monaco, as “just a set of largely unsubstantiated claims”.

“We didn’t see anything on hidden wealth within Putin’s inner circle,” Dmitry Peskov was reported as saying, adding that it was not clear “how this information can be trusted.”

However, he also suggested the US was implicated in the leak as the largest offshore haven, claiming: “What catches the eye is which country is the world’s largest lagoon. This, of course, is the US.”

Andy Gregory4 October 2021 12:29
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Conservatives must ‘return donor money’, says Labour

My colleague Adam Forrest has more details on Labour’s assertions that the Tories should return money donated by Mohamed Amersi in the wake of claims he was involved in a telecoms corruption scandal.

Mr Amersi has given nearly £525,000 to the party since 2018, Electoral Commission records show, and made headlines in July when he revealed the existence of a group of wealthy Tory donors known as the “advisory board”.

According to the BBC and The Guardian, the Tory donor advised Swedish telecoms firm Telia on a £162m deal with the daughter of Uzbekistan’s former ruler in 2010 – a payment later described by US authorities as a “bribe”.

Mr Amersi’s lawyers have denied that he “knowingly” helped facilitate any corrupt payments and had “no reason” to believe money given to Gulnara Karimova might be a bribe.

Tories must ‘return money’, says Labour after donor linked to corruption scandal

Boris Johnson says all donors properly ‘vetted’, as funder named in Pandora papers

Andy Gregory4 October 2021 12:45
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Czech PM could become first victim of Pandora Papers

For Czech prime minister Andrej Babiš, the timing of the Pandora Papers could not have been worse, William Nattrass reports from Prague.

Czech parliamentary elections are taking place on 8 and 9 October, and Babiš now risks becoming the first victim of the Pandora Papers’ revelations – with the latest polls having shown a tightening in the election race.

Mr Babiš’s ANO party is now projected to win 25.2 per cent of the vote, ahead of the SPOLU opposition coalition on 20.9 per cent. Furious reactions to the Pandora Papers could further weaken Babiš’s position.

“How intensively Czech officials try to investigate the Pandora Papers will show to what extent the Czech state has been ‘occupied’ by Babiš and his people,” said the chief editor of a leading anti-Babiš news portal. Read more details here:

Czech PM Babis could become first victim of Pandora Papers

The Czech Republic goes to the polls at the weekend, just as its billionaire PM stands accused in the Pandora Papers’ leak, reports William Nattrass in Prague

Andy Gregory4 October 2021 13:01
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Story in full: What is the Pandora papers leak?

The secret offshore wealth of more than 300 world leaders, politicians and influential figures in the business world has been revealed in one of the largest ever leaks of financial data, writes Daniel Keane.

The Pandora Papers investigation, which involved a consortium of some 600 journalists from a variety of global media outlets, is based on the leak of some 11.9 million documents from 14 financial services companies around the globe.

Some 35 world leaders and more than 100 billionaires are implicated in the leaked documents. Among those named in the files are Tony Blair, associates of Russian president Vladimir Putin, King Abdullah of Jordan, and Czech prime minister Andrej Babis.

Pandora Papers: Huge trove of leaked documents reveal offshore wealth of global elite

Massive leak of financial documents links world leaders including Vladimir Putin and King Abdullah of Jordan to secret stores of wealth

Jon Sharman4 October 2021 13:26
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Shakira, Elton John and Ringo Starr named in Pandora Papers leak

Celebrities including Shakira, Elton John and Ringo Starr have been named in the leaked Pandora Papers, which have exposed the offshore dealings and assets of some of the world’s most powerful people.

More than 300 world leaders, politicians, business figures and entertainment stars have reportedly been tied to complex offshore accounting and tax avoidance schemes, writes Roisin O’Connor.

The report, put together by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), is based on the leak of approximately 11.9 million documents from 14 financial service companies.

Shakira, Elton John and Ringo Starr named in Pandora Papers leak

Leaked documents link some of the world’s richest and most powerful figures to offshore accounting and complex tax avoidance schemes

Jon Sharman4 October 2021 13:45
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Calls for parliamentary debate on Pandora papers in Malaysia

Malaysia's main opposition leader has called for information found in the Pandora Papers data leak to be discussed in parliament, after learning the country's former finance minister and several current officials might have been involved with offshore firms set up in tax havens.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim asked for a debate of this "urgent issue, as it has mentioned some big names in the country". He identified a former finance minister as well as the current post holder, Tengku Zafrul Aziz, and three other politicians.

"I believe this matter interest of the people, because it is also mentions the names of government and opposition political figures," he wrote in a Facebook post to which he attached his formal request for a parliamentary debate.

Mr Zafrul, a banker who was appointed finance minister last year, said in a statement that he had ended ties with the holding company and bank mentioned in the report by 2010.

He suggested he was considering suing online news portal Malaysiakini, the only Malaysian media organisation that was listed as being involved in the leak of documents to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Additional reporting by AP

Jon Sharman4 October 2021 13:55
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India to launch Pandora papers probe

India will investigate cases linked to the Pandora papers leak of financial documents, though officials said that the “names of only a few Indians have appeared so far in the media”.

“The relevant investigative agencies would undertake investigation in these cases and appropriate action would be taken in such cases as per law,” the finance ministry said in a statement.

“With a view to ensure effective investigation in these cases, the government will also proactively engage with foreign jurisdictions for obtaining information in respect of relevant taxpayers/entities.”

Jon Sharman4 October 2021 14:14

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