Panama Papers



how the World’s rich and famous hide their Money Offshore
- the Guardian: LINK ¤ the GUARDIAN

 

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  • "the hidden wealth of some of the world’s most prominent leaders, politicians and celebrities has been revealed by an unprecedented leak of millions of documents"

 

 

 

 

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  • "that show the myriad ways in which the rich can exploit secretive offshore tax regimes"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "journalists from more than 80 countries have been reviewing 11.5m files leaked from the database of Mossack Fonseca, the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm"

 

 

 

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  • "the records were obtained from an anonymous source by the German newspaper "Süddeutsche Zeitung" and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "twelve national leaders are among 143 politicians, their families and close associates from around the world known to have been using offshore tax havens"

 

 

 

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  • "a US$ 2bn trail leads all the way to Vladimir Putin"

 

 

 

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  • "the Russian president’s best friend - a cellist called Sergei Roldugin - is at the centre of a scheme in which money from Russian state banks is hidden offshore"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "among national leaders with offshore wealth are Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s prime minister"

 

 

 

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  • "Ayad Allawi, ex-interim prime minister and former vice-president of Iraq"

 

 

 

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  • "Petro Poroshenko, president of Ukraine; Alaa Mubarak, son of Egypt’s former president"

 

 

 

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  • "and the prime minister of Iceland, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "six members of the House of Lords, three former Conservative MPs and dozens of donors to UK political parties have had offshore assets"

 

 

 

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  • "the families of at least eight current and former members of China’s supreme ruling body, the politburo, have been found to have hidden wealth offshore"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "a key member of Fifa’s powerful ethics committee, which is supposed to be spearheading reform at world football’s scandal-hit governing body"

 

 

 

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  • "acted as a lawyer for individuals and companies recently charged with bribery and corruption"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "one leaked memorandum from a partner of Mossack Fonseca said:"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "ninety-five per cent of our work coincidentally consists in selling vehicles to avoid taxes"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

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a World of hidden Wealth: why we are shining a Light Offshore - the Guardian: LINK ¤ the GUARDIAN

 

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  • "the huge leak reveals how the powerful exploit secretive tax regimes"

 

 

 

 

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  • "and widen the gulf between rich and poor"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "economists are charting an unrelenting, escalating transfer of wealth, enabled by the offshore system, often from the very poorest to the very richest nations"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "the money is sometimes spent in obvious ways - funding super-yachts, private jets, fine art auctions and, of course, property"

 

 

 

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  • "it harms the ecology of vibrant cities by making them unaffordable to ordinary people"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "the cash is also a shot in the arm to the financial system. Lawfully injected into London hedge funds and Wall Street trading rooms"

 

 

 

 

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  • "it funds high-stakes investments and, in the good years, big bonus pools"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "the movement of this offshore money is an industry made possible in part by the secrecy on sale in tax havens"

 

 

 

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  • "the Panama Papers lift the veil on how this world works - and the people who use it"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "the papers simply reveal the vast number of people who use offshore to protect their wealth"

 

 

 

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  • "since the 2008 crash, there has been a clamour for everyone to pay a fair share of the tax burden"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "unsurprisingly, the public is questioning - perhaps more than ever"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "whether a system that provides advantages only to the wealthy is immoral"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "and the political climate that once tolerated this inequality has changed decisively"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "just as importantly, we shine a spotlight on the role of the facilitators:"

 

 

 

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  • "the well-paid lawyers, accountants and private bankers in financial centres such as London and Geneva, whose expertise lies in moving money offshore"

 

 

 

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  • "behaviour revealed in the Panama Papers highlights the failures of regulatory regimes that were either oblivious to, or unwilling to act"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "big corporations often argue they have a duty to their shareholders to pay as little tax as is legal"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "but they are swimming against the tide"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "research group Global Financial Integrity puts the figure"

 

 

 

 

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  • "for illicit financial outflows from developing countries at US$ 1tn a year"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "the details from the Panama Papers contribute to an important public debate"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "about what offshore activity can be tolerated"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "and what should not"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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all Putin’s Men: secret Records reveal Money Network tied to Russian Leader - ICIJ: LINK ¤ I C I J

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  • "complex offshore financial deals channel money and power"

 

 

 

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  • "towards a network of people and companies linked to President Vladimir Putin"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "as much as US$ 2 billion has been secretly shuffled through banks and shadow companies linked to Putin’s associates"

 

 

 

 

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  • "Bank Rossiya has been instrumental in building a network of offshore companies"

 

 

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  • "dozens of loans, some worth hundreds of millions of dollars, sold between offshore companies for as little as US$ 1 or less"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "Putin and Sergey Roldugin forged a bond as young men. Fast friends, almost like brothers, they cruised the streets of Leningrad"

 

 

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  • "as Putin rose to power Roldugin made a name for himself as a classical cellist and conductor, the two remained close"

 

 

 

 

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  • "now a leak of secret documents reveals another, hidden side of their friendship"

 

 

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  • "the records show Sergey Roldugin is a behind-the-scenes player in a clandestine network"

 

 

 

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  • "operated by Putin associates that has shuffled at least US$ 2 billion through banks and offshore companies"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "Roldugin has publicly claimed not to be a businessman"

 

 

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  • "the evidence in the files suggests Roldugin is acting as a front man for a network of Putin loyalists"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "about 100 financial deals related to the network are described in the leaked documents"

 

 

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  • "they are complex. Payments are disguised in various ways. On paper, shares in companies are swapped back and forth in a day"

 

 

 

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  • "documents are backdated. Questionable financial penalties are assessed. The rights to multimillion-dollar loans are sold between offshore companies for US$ 1"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "in almost every instance, the result is the same: money and power moves in the direction of the network"

 

 

 

 

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  • "to companies and people allied to Putin"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "the network’s covert deals allowed it to receive money in a variety of ways"

 

 

 

 

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  • "including hundreds of millions of dollars in sweetheart loans from a bank controlled by the Russian government"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "for years there have been reports - mainly from whistleblowers - about Putin’s secret wealth"

 

 

 

 

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  • "a few offshore companies, a palace and a mega yacht have all been said to belong to the Russian leader"

 

 

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  • "various news organizations have also noted how the people around Putin have become rich"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "the records reveal what until now has mostly been the stuff of rumor:"

 

 

 

 

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  • "how Putin’s cronies secretly conduct their business"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "the law firm’s internal files show how minions and proxies created structures to hide and move the secret wealth"

 

 

 

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  • "the records include email correspondence, bank account forms, loan agreements, share transactions and passport scans"

 

 

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  • "dates, cash amounts and contract terms are detailed"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "loyalty and long-held relationships help bind the network together"

 

 

 

 

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  • "many of the men whose interests are reflected in the leaked files are Putin comrades whose history with him traces back decades to St. Petersburg"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "there is Yury Kovalchuk, a banker who forged links with the future president when Putin was a municipal official"

 

 

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  • "and Arkady Rotenberg, a childhood chum who has become a billionaire through state-sponsored construction projects, oil pipelines and other ventures"

 

 

 

 

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  • "they are connected to the St. Petersburg-based Bank Rossiya, which the US has identified as Putin’s personal cashbox"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "the files make clear that Bank Rossiya built the network. Its employees tended to it, working to create the offshore companies"

 

 

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  • "assigning ownership to Roldugin and others and shepherding the transactions through banks in Russia, Cyprus and Switzerland"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "nowhere in the Mossack Fonseca files is the name of the Russian president, a former KGB spymaster, actually mentioned"

 

 

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  • "audio recordings and witness accounts show that even when Putin’s closest confidants privately discuss his financial dealings"

 

 

 

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  • "they use pseudonyms for him or simply gesture to the heavens rather than utter his name"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "it’s inconceivable, though, that the network could have existed without the knowledge and support of Putin"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "of all those in his inner circle, Arkady and his brother Boris Rotenberg have known Putin the longest"

 

 

 

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  • "in 2013, the year before the sanctions were issued, one of Arkady Rotenberg’s companies received potentially lucrative government contracts"

 

 

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  • "to work on a proposed US$ 40 billion natural gas pipeline between Russia and Europe"

 

 

 

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  • "around the same time, three anonymous companies made huge payments into the Putin network, records show"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "loans from these Rotenberg companies totaling more than US$ 231 million appear to have gone to a British Virgin Islands-based company called Sunbarn Limited, created by a manager at Bank Rossiya"

 

 

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  • "the loans had no repayment schedule"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "Sergey Roldugin’s friendship with Putin likely landed him in the exclusive club of Bank Rossiya shareholders"

 

 

 

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  • "the leaked records show, the classical cellist Roldugin made moves to secretly gain a degree of management control over Kamaz"

 

 

 

 

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  • "a company building trucks with revenue of US$ 3.51 billion in 2007"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "in March 2008, one of the Roldugin companies was given a secret option to buy a minority stake in Kamaz through a company called Avtoinvest"

 

 

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  • "Putin adviser Ruben Vardanyan was board chair and principal owner of the bank that ran Avtoinvest, a big shareholder in Kamaz"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "during the time from 2008 to 2012, Bank Rossiya’s balance sheet ballooned from under US$ 4 billion to more than US$ 8 billion"

 

 

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  • "the network of Putin associates kicked into high gear"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "in September 2009, a Mossack Fonseca compliance officer flagged a transaction for US$ 103 million involving a company called Sandalwood Continental Limited"

 

 

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  • "the manager for Bank Rossiya that was arranging the transaction wanted Sandalwood corporate directors - who were stand-ins provided by the law firm - to approve the deal"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "Sandalwood was the lynchpin of the entire Putin-linked network. One of Sandalwood’s roles appeared to be to borrow money from the Russian Commercial Bank (RCB) in Cyprus"

 

 

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  • "which in turn was backed by Moscow-based, state-controlled bank, VTB. The US$ 103 million began as a loan to Sandalwood from RCB Cyprus"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "the owner on paper of Sandalwood was Oleg Gordin, a small businessman with a background in “law enforcement agencies,” according to the files"

 

 

 

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  • "between 2009 and 2012, Sandalwood had lines of credit with RCB for about US$ 800 million"

 

 

 

 

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  • "they went to a borrower who had no discernible business model that would allow it to pay back the money. The loans carried no security"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "Sandalwood also functioned as a link in a chain of loan-swapping shadow companies"

 

 

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  • "it assigned the rights to interest payments in the millions of dollars to companies - including one of Roldugin’s, which paid US$ 1 dollar to receive US$ 8 million a year in interest"

 

 

 

 

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  • "the documents didn’t seem to make economic sense"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "about US$ 2 billion passed through the network between 2008 and 2013, most of it through Sandalwood Continental"

 

 

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  • "a later email detailed the fees Mossack Fonseca charged Sandalwood, which were based on the amount of the loans"

 

 

 

 

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  • "for helping to create the paper trail for the US$ 103 million, it earned US$ 2,030"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "Mikhail Lesin was intimately involved in the efforts of Putin and Bank Rossiya to control Russian media. As Putin’s first media minister, he oversaw the regime’s propaganda push"

 

 

 

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  • "while in government, Lesin played a key role in brokering deals that put critics in the media under ownership"

 

 

 

 

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  • "that was more closely aligned with the Kremlin"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "in the wake of these efforts, voices critical of the Russian regime fell silent"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "after Medvedev replaced Putin as president, Lesin left the government and joined the nation’s biggest private media group"

 

 

 

 

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  • "Gazprom-Media, which Bank Rossiya managed"

 

 

 

 

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  • "Gazprom-Media was only part of the media conglomerate that Bank Rossiya built. Its sprawl has earned the bank’s chairman, Yury Kovalchuk, the nickname the Russian Rupert Murdoch"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "in 2005, Bank Rossiya bought a stake in a small television network"

 

 

 

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  • "which Putin then designated as a national broadcaster, greatly expanding its reach and profit"

 

 

 

 

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  • "it also took over Ren-TV, muting critical voices and investigations of the government"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "now, the files reveal that there was a secret component to both Lesin and Bank Rossiya’s media dealings"

 

 

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  • "Lesin had a company called Gloria Market Ltd. based in the British Virgin Islands. He created it in 2011"

 

 

 

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  • "to collect money from advertising"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "in the late 1990s, Lesin had helped set up an advertising sales company called Video International that at one point"

 

 

 

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  • "controlled as much as two-thirds of the nation’s television advertising"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "while Bank Rossiya publicly owned 16 percent of Video International"

 

 

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  • "a Roldugin offshore company created by the bank secretly held an additional 12.5 percent stake, the files show"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "Putin’s circle of friends and associates are driven by two imperatives: confidentiality and control"

 

 

 

 

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  • "they hate risk. Putin has shown he is willing to take aggressive steps to maintain secrecy"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "by December 2011, the financial system of Cyprus, where Sandalwood Continental did most of its business, was in trouble"

 

 

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  • "in 2012, Sandalwood assigned dozens of loans, sometimes in amounts of hundreds of millions of dollars, to a British Virgin Islands-based company"

 

 

 

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  • "called Ove Financial for US$ 1 each, sometimes for nothing at all"

 

 

 

 

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  • "Ove Financial also served as one of the shareholders of Mikhail Lesin’s Gloria Market"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "a new proxy took Roldugin’s place. Roldugin hadn’t always been the most conscientious front man"

 

 

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  • "at one point, a Bank Rossiya manager had complained in an email"

 

 

 

 

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  • "that it was a challenge to arrange for Roldugin to sign documents"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "Putin circle’s use of offshore companies contrasts with the president’s call for "deoffshorization", urging Russians to bring cash hidden abroad home"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "the members of the Ozero Cooperative began to transfer some of the massive wealth they had accumulated to their children"

 

 

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  • "and Arkady Rotenberg made his son Igor the owner of some of his secret Mossack Fonseca companies"

 

 

 

 

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  • "these generational transfers are signs of the rise of a new Russian aristocracy"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "the Rotenbergs and other billionaires who have flourished under Putin’s protection are having an impact on the Russian economy"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "the top 10 percent of wealth holders in Russia"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "own 85 percent of all household wealth in the country"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "but 83 percent of the population"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "has less than US$ 10,000 in personal wealth"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


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Tax Havens don’t need to be reformed: they should be outlawed - the Guardian: LINK ¤ the GUARDIAN

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  • "the Panama Papers are not really about a central American state"

 

 

 

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  • "they are a glimpse through a Panamanian keyhole of an orgy of tax evasion, money laundering and kleptocracy"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "hosted by the world’s tax havens"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "seven years after world leaders came together at a post-financial crisis G20 summit in London and committed to end tax haven abuse, it is clear from these papers that no such end is in sight"

 

 

 

 

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  • "the good intentions have translated into a blizzard of international agreements on sharing information"

 

 

 

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  • "amnesties through which tax evaders can come clean, and prosecution drives of variable quality to nail the cheats"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "all are demonstrably inadequate"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "after late 20th-century financial liberalisation"

 

 

 

 

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  • "tax havens became voracious parasites on the world economy"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "most seriously sucking the life out of some of its poorer parts"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "despite this long trail of evidence, leading economies refuse to address the problem at its source"

 

 

 

 

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  • "the UK has great leverage over its 17 overseas territories and crown dependencies, all of which depend on the mother country"

 

 

 

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  • "(more than half of the 200,000 secret companies set up by the Panama lawyers were registered in the British Virgin Islands)"

 

 

 

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  • "at a stroke our government could shut down the British Virgin Islands corporate system"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "it is clear that coaxing these territories into increased transparency can achieve only marginal gains"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "to tackle the cancer of corruption at the heart of the global financial system"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "tax havens need not just to reform but to end"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "companies, trusts and other structures constituted in this shadow world"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "must be refused access to the real one"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "so they can no longer steal money and wash it back in"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "no bank accounts, no property ownership, no access to legal systems"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "the world has been entertained by tax havens long enough"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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PANAMA PAPERS - Wikipedia EN:
LINK ¤ PANAMA PAPERS

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  • "the Panama Papers are a leaked set of 11.5 million documents that provide detailed information on more than 214,000 offshore companies, including the identities of shareholders and directors"

 

 

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  • "comprising documents created since the 1970s that amount to 2.6 terabytes of data"
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