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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 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 files expose offshore companies controlled by the prime minister of Iceland, the king of Saudi Arabia and the children of the president of Azerbaijan and the prime minister of Pakistan.
They also include at least 33 people and companies blacklisted by the U. government because of evidence that they’d been involved in wrongdoing, such as doing business with Mexican drug lords, terrorist organizations like Hezbollah or rogue nations like North Korea and Iran. “These findings show how deeply ingrained harmful practices and criminality are in the offshore world,” said Gabriel Zucman, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley and author of “The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens.” Zucman, who was briefed on the media partners’ investigation, said the release of the leaked documents should prompt governments to seek “concrete sanctions” against jurisdictions and institutions that peddle offshore secrecy.
One of those companies supplied fuel for the aircraft that the Syrian government used to bomb and kill thousands of its own citizens, U. World leaders who have embraced anti-corruption platforms feature in the leaked documents.
The files reveal offshore companies linked to the family of China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, who has vowed to fight “armies of corruption,” as well as Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who has positioned himself as a reformer in a country shaken by corruption scandals.
The files also contain new details of offshore dealings by the late father of British Prime Minister David Cameron, a leader in the push for tax-haven reform.