A massive leak of documents exposes the offshore holdings of 12 current and former world leaders and reveals how associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin secretly shuffled as much as $2 billion through banks and shadow companies.
The leak also provides details of the hidden financial dealings of 128 more politicians and public officials around the world. The cache of 11.5 million records shows how a global industry of law firms and big banks sells financial secrecy to politicians, fraudsters and drug traffickers as well as billionaires, celebrities and sports stars.
The documents make it clear that major banks are big drivers behind the creation of hard-to-trace companies in the British Virgin Islands, Panama and other offshore havens. The files list nearly 15,600 paper companies that banks set up for clients who want keep their finances under wraps, including thousands created by international giants UBS and HSBC
Documents from the leaked Mossack Fonseca database showed the relations of three of the seven members of the Communist party’s elite ruling council, the politburo standing committee, had companies that were clients of the offshore law firm. They included relatives of Chinese president Xi Jinping.
The Portuguese Parliament
has provoked outrage by failing to condemn the long prison sentences handed to the so-called Luanda book club, 17 dissidents convicted of political defiance against Angola’s government.
The Angolan president, José Eduardo dos Santos had warned the former colonial power against “interfering” in Angolan justice, but campaigners attacked the blocking of a motion in Lisbon to repudiate the verdicts as “complicity in the ongoing looting” of the country by the government.
Dos Santos, 73, has been president since 1979 and has been accused of presiding over one of the world’s most corrupt governments, amassing a great fortune for himself, his family and friends, while two-thirds of his country lives below the poverty line.