The World Leaders That The Panama Papers Named & Shamed Include Some Of The World's Richest People
Monday proved to be trying for 12 current and former world leaders named in the Panama Papers — not to mention the 60-some more who are directly linked to them. Think Wikileaks, but bigger. About 11 million documents were leaked from Mossack Fonesca, a Panamanian law firm that has spent the last 40 years helping clients launder money, avoid sanctions, and lower their tax bills. Not something the average taxpayer wants to come out, let alone the leader of a country.
The papers were anonymously given to the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, and were subsequently shared with The Guardian and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Together, they have begun to sift through the many pages to identify the rich and famous who have benefited from offshore bank accounts. Including the less prominent politicians and public officials, more than 140 of them could be facing inquiries.
Several individuals with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin were named in the leak. Some $2 billion has been connected to his inner circle, leading the Kremlin to attack the report on Monday for supposedly targeting Putin. They claim he has no connections to offshore accounts. Those implicated in Western countries could soon be facing quite the tax bill. Australia and New Zealand's tax authorities are already at work investigating, and the UK has asked for access to the files. Some key figures will surely be audited more closely than others.
The President Of Argentina
Mauricio Macri assumed office in December, and has been quick to initiate plans for economic liberalization. He, his father, and his brother were directors of a company incorporated in the Bahamas and dissolved in 2009.
The Prime Minister Of Iceland
Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson has been in office since 2013. He was caught on camera avoiding questions about an offshore company he and his wife were named in connection to. He never declared the accounts, but maintains he payed all necessary taxes.
The Former Prime Minister Of Iraq
Ayad Allawi was named prime minister in 2004, after the U.S.-led coalition ended Saddam Hussein's rule. He is thought to have ties to both the CIA and MI6. Firms created for him in held London properties, but were dissolved in 2013.
The President Of Ukraine
Petro Poroshenko won the presidency by a landslide. Before running for office, he owned a large candy manufacturing company, a TV channel, and other assets. He promised to sell them, but instead created an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands to hold some assets.
The Former Prime Minister Of Georgia
Bidzina Ivanishvili served as prime minister of Georgia for 13 months starting in 2012. He'd made a fortune in Russia in the metal and banking industries before returning and getting involved in politics. He was the owner of a foreign trust based in the British Virgin Islands.
The King Of Saudi Arabia
King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has reigned since 2015, after the death of his brother. He had a role in several companies which owned real estate holdings in London, as well as a yacht.
The President Of The United Arab Emirates
One of the world's richest men, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan is president of the UAE and the emir of Abu Dhabi. The world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, is named after him. He has also donated huge sums to American university hospitals to fund cancer research. He was the owner of at least 30 companies set up in the British Virgin Islands.
The Former President Of Sudan
Ahmad Ali Al-Mirghani died in 2008; he was the last democratically elected president of Sudan. After he was ousted by a coup, he moved to Egypt. He had an offshore company which owned a London apartment.
The Former Prime Minister Of Ukraine
Considered one of the most corrupt politicians ever, Pavlo Lazarenko spent eight years under house arrest and in prison in the United States after a 2004 conviction. It's estimated that he stole at least $200 million while in charge of the Ukrainian economy. His offshore accounts have previously been investigated, and include several run by Mossack Fonseca.
The Former Prime Minster Of Jordan
Originally from the business world, Ali Abu al-Ragheb worked on a special economic zone that the King of Jordan had proposed. He became a favorite minister of the king, and then prime minister. He resigned in 2003 to work for financial and insurance companies. He was the director of some overseas corporations in the British Virgin Islands, and owned others in the Seychelles.
The Former Prime Minister Of Qatar
In addition to serving as prime minister, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani was the head of the Qatar Investment Authority, one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds. He has been influential in the region on topics ranging from the war in Syria to business deals. He has offshore companies which manage his $300 million yacht.
The Former Emir Of Qatar
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani deposed his own father in a bloodless coup in 1995, and went on to rule the nation until 2013, when he passed the reins to his son. In 2014, he acquired an offshore company which owns a Luxembourg bank account and shares in two South African companies.
Even more figures could be implicated with time. Associates linked to other world leaders have already been implicated. Stay tuned for more information as these documents get investigated further.