Pandora Papers: Secret wealth and dealings of world leaders exposed

By Pandora Papers reporting team


The secret wealth and dealings of world leaders, politicians and billionaires has been exposed in one of the biggest leaks of financial documents.


Some 35 current and former leaders and more than 300 public officials are featured in the files from offshore companies, dubbed the Pandora Papers.


They reveal the King of Jordan secretly amassed £70m of UK and US property.

They also show how ex-UK PM Tony Blair and his wife saved £312,000 in stamp duty when they bought a London office.


The couple bought an offshore firm that owned the building.


The leak also links Russian President Vladimir Putin to secret assets in Monaco, and shows the Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis - facing an election later this week - failed to declare an offshore investment company used to purchase two villas for £12m in the south of France.


It is the latest in a string of leaks over the past seven years, following the FinCen Files, the Paradise Papers, the Panama Papers and LuxLeaks.


  • A simple guide to the Pandora Papers leak

  • King of Jordan amassed £70m secret property empire

  • Blairs saved £312,000 stamp duty in property deal

  • Secret assets of Kenyan president’s family exposed


The examination of the files is the largest organised by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), with more than 650 reporters taking part.


BBC Panorama in a joint investigation with the Guardian and the other media partners have had access to nearly 12 million documents and files from 14 financial services companies in countries including the British Virgin Islands, Panama, Belize, Cyprus, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Switzerland.


Some figures are facing allegations of corruption, money laundering and global tax avoidance.


But one of the biggest revelations is how prominent and wealthy people have been legally setting up companies to secretly buy property in the UK.


The documents reveal the owners of some of the 95,000 offshore firms behind the purchases.


It highlights the UK government's failure to introduce a register of offshore property owners despite repeated promises to do so, amid concerns some property buyers could be hiding money-laundering activities.


The Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his family, who have been accused of looting their own country, are one example.


The investigation found the Aliyevs and their close associates have secretly been involved in property deals in the UK worth more than £400m.


This article first appeared on BBC News.