The Pandora Papers involve a series of investigations regarding the recent leak of the illegal dealings of corrupted, wealthy, and influential individuals and their offshore bank accounts to conceal their unprecedented collection of money amounting to more than trillions of dollars.
Partnering with 600 journalists from over 100 media firms worldwide, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) holds the investigation. The group has already acquired about 11.9 million worth of confidential documents from different financial and legal firms, which holds information about how the world’s most prominent elites hide trillions of dollars from prosecutors and tax authorities, among others.
Having offshore bank accounts can be legal in most countries, making the accused people in the list coming from the leaked data as ‘innocent’ against any criminal activities.
Although owning offshore bank accounts is legal, the journalist group highlighted that with the 2.94TB of leaked legal and financial data they acquired in this investigation, the offshore money owned by the involved elites are operating in all parts of the world. It also includes some of the most renowned legal and financial firms, which makes the issue suspicious.
ICIJ took over a year in investigating the Pandora Papers through its 11.9 million confidential records.
According to the reports made by the journalist group, Pandora Papers involve hundreds of highly powerful individuals such as celebrities, politicians, religious leaders, and even some drug dealers. These people conceal their investments through expensive properties, vehicles, yachts, and other assets, as revealed through the files acquired from 14 firms worldwide.
Banks and law firms create complex structures in dealing with offshore providers, as the investigation reveals. Moreover, American trust providers have also been taking advantage of state laws that allow concealment of their overseas customers’ wealth to evade their home country’s tax requirements.
A lawmaker in the European Parliament expressed that the Pandora Papers leak should be a wake-up call against global tax evasion, which feeds inequality. He also added that countermeasures must be sharpened and expanded immediately.
Names involved in the Pandora Papers project
There are several countries involved in the Pandora Project investigation. The biggest among the list includes King Abdullah II of Jordan, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, Czech Republic’s Prime Minister Andrej Babis, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, and more.
Aside from world leaders, celebrities are also reported to be in the leaked documents list. Some celebrities found on the list includes Elton John, a singer-songwriter; Shakira, a Colombian singer; and Ringo Starr, a musician.