A PORTFOLIO of $ 100 million worth of assets belonging to the alleged lover of Vladimir Putin has been revealed in a huge financial data leak.
The secret offshore wealth of hundreds of world leaders – including the Russian president’s associates – celebrities and multimillionaires has been exposed in documents dubbed the Pandora Papers.
They shed light on the previously hidden transactions of the elite and the corrupt, and how they used offshore accounts to protect assets collectively worth trillions of dollars.
The newspapers reveal how more than 330 billionaires, religious leaders, drug traffickers and politicians have hidden their investments in mansions, exclusive beachfront properties, yachts and other assets over the past quarter century.
A review of nearly 12 million files obtained from 14 companies located around the world revealed how wealthy world leaders were using accounts in tax havens to transact and accumulate huge sums of money.
The documents link Russian President Putin to secret assets in Monaco and reveal that an offshore company owned by his alleged lover bought a $ 4.1million (Â£ 3million) apartment under the principality’s casino.
The luxury apartment was purchased by Brockville Development Ltd, which according to Guardian dates back to Svetlana Krivonogikh.
After forming a friendship with Putin, she appears to have built up a $ 100million (Â£ 74million) real estate portfolio, including an apartment in St. Petersburg and sites in Moscow, as well as a yacht.
According to the Russian investigative newspaper Proekt, the former cleaning lady is the mother of Putin’s child.
The report released on Sunday by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists involved 600 journalists from 150 media outlets in 117 countries.
People identified as beneficiaries of the secret accounts include Jordans King Abdullah II, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso and associates of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Russian president. Vladimir Poutine.
Billionaires cited in the report include Turkish construction tycoon Erman Ilicak and Robert T. Brockman, the former CEO of software maker Reynolds & Reynolds.
Many accounts were designed to evade taxes and conceal assets for other shady reasons, according to the report.
The new data breach “must be a wake-up call,” said Sven Giegold, a Green Party lawmaker in the European Parliament.
“Global tax evasion is fueling global inequalities. We need to expand and refine countermeasures now.”
The Pandora Papers follow on from a similar project released in 2016 called Panama Papers, compiled by the same group of journalists.
This latest bombshell is even larger, carrying through nearly 3 terabytes of data the equivalent of about 750,000 smartphone photos leaked by 14 different service providers doing business in 38 different jurisdictions around the world.
Records date back to the 1970s, but most records span from 1996 to 2020.
THE HAVRES OFFSHORE
In contrast, the Panama Papers recovered 2.6 terabytes of data leaked by a now defunct law firm called Mossack Fonseca, located in the country that inspired the project’s nickname.
The latest investigation explored accounts registered in familiar offshore havens, including the British Virgin Islands, Seychelles, Hong Kong and Belize.
But some of the secret accounts were also scattered around trusts set up in the United States, including 81 in South Dakota and 37 in Florida.
Tony Blair, Prime Minister from 1997 to 2007, became the owner of an $ 8.8 million Victorian building in 2017 by purchasing a British Virgin Islands company that owned the property, and the building now houses the law firm of his wife, Cherie Blair, according to the investigation.
The two men bought the company from the family of Bahraini Minister of Industry and Tourism Zayed bin Rashid al-Zayani.
Buying the company’s stock instead of the London building saved the Blairs more than $ 400,000 in property taxes, the investigation found.
The Blairs and al-Zayanis both said they were initially unaware the other party was involved in the deal, the investigation revealed.
Cherie Blair said her husband was not involved in the purchase, which she said was aimed at bringing the business and building back into the UK tax and regulatory regime.
She also said she did not want to own a company in the British Virgin Islands and that the seller, for his own purposes, only wanted to sell the company, which is now closed.
A lawyer for al-Zayanis said they obeyed British laws.
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