October 22, 2021

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Pandora Papers: Newly revealed docs expose tax havens for rich and famous – New York Post

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A massive trove of newly released confidential records exposes lucrative tax havens for some of the world’s most rich and powerful figures, from Jordan’s king to spicy pop singer Sharika — and even an underground art dealer whose collections have been displayed at The Met.

Dubbed the “Pandora Papers,” the records consist of nearly 12 million documents detailing systematic tax-dodging by 14 firms that use off-shore bank accounts that hide the fortunes and assets of hundreds of wealthy clients.

Rich corporations and individuals used shell companies and secret trusts to hide assets ranging in yachts and jets, to mansions and insurance policies.

The records, the largest ever leak of confidential documents, were compiled and released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a worldwide coalition of media organizations.

Among those nabbed with off-shore accounts are 35 current and former world leaders, including Jordan’s King Abdullah II, who had hidden $106 million from the purchase of mansions in Malibu and elsewhere, according to a report in the Washington Post.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair avoided paying $580,000 in property transfer taxes, according to the newly released documents.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair avoided paying $580,000 in property transfer taxes, according to the newly released documents.
Getty Images
Art collector Douglas Latchford (right) allegedly hid profits using offshore accounts, according to the papers.
Art collector Douglas Latchford (right) allegedly hid profits using offshore accounts, according to the papers.
TANG CHHIN SOTHY/AFP via Getty Images

Companies affiliated with Abdullah spent nearly $70 million on luxury homes in Southern California between 2014 and 2017 — but dodged taxes on the ritzy purchases, according to the report.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is not directly named in the records — but his alleged mistress is, the Washington Post said.

King Abdullah II of Jordan is one of many world leaders and celebrities featured in the "Pandora Papers."
King Abdullah II of Jordan is one of many world leaders and celebrities featured in the “Pandora Papers.”Rod Lamkey – CNP / MEGA

A shell company in the Virgin Islands purchased a ritzy Monaco apartment in 2003 for Svetlana Krivonogikh for $4.1 million, the papers show.

Krivonogikh has reportedly had a years-long relationship with Putin and has had at least one child with him, according to the outlet. 

The Pandora Papers allege singer Shakira used accounts in the British Virgin Islands to avoid taxes.
The Pandora Papers allege singer Shakira used accounts in the British Virgin Islands to avoid taxes.
AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Also shielding their assets from taxes were Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Douglas Latchford, an indicted antiquities dealer linked to looted Cambodian artifacts — whose art collections have been displayed at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art — allegedly used the offshore accounts to conceal profits from underground art trading.

Latchford was charged in 2019 with illegally peddling priceless ancient Khmer Empire artifacts by falsifying invoices and other records. 

Tony Blair, Britain’s longest-serving prime minister, avoided paying more than $580,000 in property transfer taxes by purchasing an $11 million London mansion by buying the property through shares from a British Virgin Islands holding company, the papers show.

Colombian-born singer Shakira, who is already in tax trouble for allegedly not paying her taxes in Spain, set up offshore entities in the British Virgin Islands to conceal assets, according to the Pandora Papers.

Sports figures, including Canadian Olympic figure skater Elvis Stojko and Formula 1 race car driver Jacques Villeneuve, also made the lengthy list.

The records, with 2.94 terabytes of data, dwarf the Panama Papers in size.

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