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Political and business links to Pandora Papers roil parliaments, anti-corruption and tax authorities as global fallout swells

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The offshore links of presidents Guillermo Lasso of Ecuador and Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine will be officially scrutinized, while Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is due to discuss financial transparency with U.S. President Joe Biden.

The Pandora Papers’ political fallout is spreading further across the globe as nations react to political leaders’ involvement in shadowy offshore finance, as exposed by the investigation.
For a second week, findings drawn from the largest-ever leak of offshore data are roiling parliaments, tax authorities and transparency groups.

And in a remarkable coincidence, U.S. President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta, this Thursday, Oct. 14, to discuss “the need to bring transparency and accountability to domestic and international financial systems”.

Kenyatta is one of more than 330 current and former politicians and high-level officials named in the Pandora Papers as beneficiaries of secret accounts.

The Associated Press reported that the Pandora Papers revelations are expected to be brought up during the Oval Office meeting.

Since the weekend, new countries joined more than a dozen nations that had already vowed investigations stemming from the Pandora Papers, a groundbreaking investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and 150 media partners in more than 110 countries around the world.

On Sunday, Ecuador’s legislature voted to launch an investigation into the offshore finances of President Guillermo Lasso to determine whether the head-of-state may have broken the law by moving money into tax havens, according to news reports.

Reporting by ICIJ and its partners showed that Lasso has had ties to 10 offshore companies and trusts in Panama, South Dakota and Delaware.

In response, Lasso told ICIJ that “all past use of any international entity” was legitimate and none of the offshore entities were related to his public service. Lasso also reportedly said that he dissolved his offshore entities in order to enter the presidential election.

The legislature said that the investigation of Lasso’s offshore activity would examine whether Lasso went against the norm that “prohibits candidates and public officials from having their resources or assets in tax havens,” according to AFP. The investigation will reportedly occur over the next 30 days.

In Ukraine, the National Agency for Prevention of Corruption is examining declarations by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the head of Ukraine’s Security Service, Ivan Bakanov. NAPC Chairman Oleksandr Novikov said the agency would take into account information published as part of the Pandora Papers investigation.


via icij.org

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