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Pandora Papers reveal trade secrets and tax dodges of global leaders

A massive accumulation of confidential records from elite politicians and celebrities across the globe, known as the Pandora Papers, has revealed the inner workings and secret methods used to accumulate and stash assets.

The Pandora Papers cover the inner financial arrangements of more than 100 billionaires and the offshore affairs of around 35 world leaders.

In the United Kingdom, disclosures show the financial records of major figures in the Conservative Party, including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The former leader dodged approximately $425,000 in taxes on a London property purchase made through an offshore investment firm.

In China, a politician was revealed to have established an offshore firm to trade U.S. stocks away from prying eyes.

Feng Qiya , a delegate to China ‘s annual parliamentary pageant, the National People’s Congress, established an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands in 2016 by the name of Linkhigh Trading. She used the firm to make clandestine trades of U.S. stocks, according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists . Feng’s company held $2 million in assets and was registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission but is currently inactive.

In 2019, Feng recommended “stricter laws to prevent corruption and white-collar crime involving private companies.”

Feng is just one of the hundreds of politicians, including current and former world leaders, as well as other high-ranking power brokers, named in the leak of nearly 12 million documents from 14 legal and financial firms.

The extensive documents have also revealed Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘s alleged mistress possesses a net worth of $100 million in “shadow wealth.” According to the documents, 46-year-old Svetlana Krivonogikh has been romantically involved with Putin since he was deputy mayor of St. Petersburg in 2000.

Using offshore accounts in low-tax jurisdictions is legal in most countries, and many of the people named in the data release are not accused of criminal wrongdoing.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said the Pandora Papers would help increase financial transparency and openness in the East African nation and across the globe. His family has also been named in leaked documents revealing decades of using offshore companies to stow away cash.

“The movement of illicit funds, proceeds of crime and corruption thrive in an environment of secrecy and darkness,” Kenyatta said Monday in a statement, according to Bloomberg. “The Pandora Papers and subsequent follow-up audits will lift that veil of secrecy and darkness for those who cannot explain their assets or wealth.”

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