What Big Names Have Been Exposed in the Pandora Papers Leak?


Oct. 4 2021, Published 8:12 a.m. ET

The ICIJ (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists) has published 11.9 million files from the companies hired by wealthy clients to create offshore companies as well as trusts in tax havens. What names are on the Pandora Papers list?

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Named the Pandora Papers, the files have 2.94 terabytes of data. The papers exposed in 2016, which were called the Panama Papers, had 2.6 terabytes of data that was leaked from Mossack Fonseca—a law firm in Panama.

Who made the Pandora Papers leak?

The Pandora Papers have been published by the ICIJ and its over 150 media partners, which are spread across the globe. These include The Washington Post from the U.S., the BBC and The Guardian from the U.K., Indian Express from India, and Radio France.

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What happened to the Panama Papers?

Before we look at the names on the Pandora Papers, it's worthwhile to see what happened to the Panama Papers, which were released over five years ago. There were protests after the leak and several countries opened investigations.

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According to the ICIJ, in Malta, Keith Schembri, former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s chief of staff, was charged with fraud and money laundering. In Panama, authorities raided Mossack Fonseca and its founders were arrested. There were some recoveries as well but not to the scale that the Panama Papers report mentioned.

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What names are in the Pandora Papers leak?

The Pandora Papers have mentioned hidden offshore dealings of 336 politicians spread across more than 90 countries. There are celebrities, sportspeople, singers, and over 100 billionaires on the list. There are 38 politicians from Ukraine and another 19 from Russia.

The prominent names on the list include King Abdullah II of Jordan. According to The Guardian, the ICIJ website appeared to have been blocked in Jordan hours before the leak. Andrej Babiš, the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, is also on the list for using an offshore company to acquire a $22 million chateau in France.

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Seven politicians in Pakistan are also on the list. The current Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan stormed to power after accusing the previous leaders, some of whom were mentioned in the Panama Papers, of massive corruption. Now, leaders of his party have also been mentioned in the Pandora Papers.

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Is Putin on the list?

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who many see as a corrupt leader who has stashed his wealth abroad, isn't on the list. However, several people close to Putin, including his best friend the late Petr Kolbin, are on the list.

Joe Biden and the Pandora Papers

While no U.S. politicians are on the Pandora Papers list, it exposes the U.S. as being one of the preferred destinations as a tax haven. According to the ICIJ report, “ICIJ identified more than 200 trusts settled, or created, in the U.S from 2000 to 2019, with the largest number registered in South Dakota. The trusts were connected with people from 40 countries.”

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While South Dakota topped the list with 81 trusts, Florida was second with 37. Delaware was a close third with 35 trusts.

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Even though Biden and other U.S. politicians aren't on the list, the emergence of the U.S. as a leading tax haven doesn't bode well for Biden who has been pushing for a global consensus against tax havens and a global minimum tax.

Some people will be concerned that as with previously exposed data, only the small fish might get caught and the “sharks” will manage to escape. Will it be different this time? We'll have to wait and see.


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