- Pandora Papers shows how offshore companies are being used to buy UK assets
- The Crown Estate said it had conducted all investigations required by UK law prior to the purchase.
- Transparency International says leaked papers should act as ‘wake up call’
The government is facing new calls to strengthen Britain’s defenses against ‘dirty money’ after leaked offshore data revealed the secret financial dealings of some of the world’s richest and most powerful people. Is.
The cache of about 12 million files – called the Pandora Papers – is said to cover the activities of some 35 current or former world leaders, more than 300 public officials and 100 billionaires.
According to BBC Panorama, which conducted a joint investigation with the Guardian, the newspaper revelations detail how prominent and wealthy people are legally setting up companies in the UK to secretly buy property.
Upon release, the Crown Estate said it was considering a £67 million purchase of the London property from a company that allegedly acted as a ‘front’ for the family of Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev. whose record has long been criticized by anti-corruption. Promoter.
A spokesman for Crown Estate said: ‘Prior to our purchase of 56-60 Conduit Street, we carried out checks including those required by UK law.
‘At that time we did not establish any reason why the transaction should not proceed.
‘Looking at the possible concerns, we are looking into the matter.’
Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife, Cheri, angrily denied any wrongdoing, as papers said they were able to save more than £300,000 in stamp duty when they bought the offshore company for £6.45. Million acquired the property of London, which owned it. .
The Crown Estate said it was considering a £67 million purchase of a London property from a company that allegedly acted as a ‘front’ for the family of Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev (pictured) whose record has long been criticized by anti-corruption campaigners.
A spokesman for Crown Estate said: ‘Prior to our purchase of 56-60 Conduit Street (pictured), we carried out checks including those required by UK law. At that time we had not established any reason why the transaction should not proceed. We are looking into the matter considering possible concerns.
Crown Estate said it carried out all investigations required by UK law before purchasing 56-60 Conduit Street (highlighted in red).
In a statement, a spokesperson for the couple said they had purchased the property “in the usual manner through reputable agents” and should not have been dragged into a story about “hidden secrets of prime ministers etc.”
The spokesperson said: ‘The seller was an offshore company. Blairs had nothing to do with the parent company nor the people behind it.
‘The seller did not sell the property to the company – once again nothing to do with Blair’s decision.
‘Since the purchase was from a company, no buyer has to pay UK stamp duty on that transaction.
‘However, since the Blairs repatriated the company and brought it ashore, they are liable to capital gains and other taxes on the resale of the property which would be much higher than any stamp duty.
For the record, Blair pays full taxes on all his earnings. and has never used offshore schemes to hide transactions or evade tax.’
Tony Blair and his wife, Cheri, angrily denied any wrongdoing when papers said they were able to save more than £300,000 in stamp duty when they acquired the £6.45 million London property by buying the offshore company. who owned it.
This disclosure is being said to be based on the leaking of files of 14 financial services companies in countries including the British Virgin Islands, Panama, Belize, Cyprus, United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Switzerland.
The files were passed on to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in Washington, which then shared access to the data with several media organizations, including the Guardian and Panorama.
Reports acknowledge that there is no legal error in many of the transactions in the documents.
Although the Guardian said they highlighted the central coordinating role played by London, the city has wealth managers, law firms, company formation agents and accountants serving its ‘ultra-rich’ clients.
Duncan Hyams, policy director for campaign group Transparency International UK, called the revelations a ‘wake up call’ for the government to deliver long-pending measures to strengthen Britain’s defenses against ‘dirty money’ should work.
“These leaks show that there is one system for corrupt elites who can buy access to prime assets and enjoy luxury lifestyles and another for honest hardworking people,” he said.
‘The UK must redouble its efforts to combat illicit finance, bringing long-pending transparency reforms to reveal who really owns assets here as well as resourcing regulators and law enforcement To crack down on counterfeit professionals and corrupt cash in the UK.
The Pandora Papers Reveals World Leaders and Their Allies Avoid Taxes and Use Secret Offshore Companies to Purchase Big Assets
- alleged Putin lover Svetlana Krivonogikh She reportedly bought a $4.1 million apartment below Monaco’s casino through an offshore account in September 2003 – six months after the Russian president gave birth. Since befriending Putin, the former cleaner has amassed a luxury portfolio of assets, including a flat in an affluent area of St. Petersburg, other properties in Moscow, and a yacht, bringing in a total of $100 million. The Kremlin has declined to comment.
- former british prime minister Mr. Blair and his wife Cheri He saved some $434,000 (£321,000) in stamp duty when he bought an office in London by buying an offshore company he owned – he has since angrily denied any wrongdoing.
- King Abdullah II bin al-Hussein of Jordan Secret was able to add £70 million worth of assets to its portfolio after purchasing 15 properties in the UK and US, mainly in Malibu, California and London and Ascot.
- President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and his family and close associates acquired property in the UK worth more than $500 million (£400million) – including 17 properties, including an office block in London, for $44.6million (£33million), the president’s son Heydar Aliyev, age Included for 11 years. He appears to have made a profit of $41.9 million (£31 million) after selling a London property to the Queen’s Crown Estate, which is managed by the Treasury
- Czech Prime Minister Lady Babiso – which faces election later this week – failed to announce an offshore investment company will buy two villas in the south of France for $16.2 million.
- Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and six members of his family, who secretly owned 11 offshore companies with assets worth $30 million.
- Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan Cabinet ministers and their families were shown to be owners of offshore companies worth millions of dollars.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky He was shown to have transferred his stake in a secret offshore company just before his victory in the 2019 election.