Pandora Papers: 7 most explosive claims – from Blair's home to Shakira's millions

Some of the richest and most famous in the world were named in the Pandora Papers, which rock the financial and political worlds after uncovering how offshore corporations were used to hide and amass wealth.

For the past two years, a team of 600 reporters from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has been sifting through the 11.9 million leaked files, finding and reviewing stories published this week.

The files, which are shared by 14 sources, are considered the largest leak of its kind in history and name more than 330 politicians from 90 countries and 100 billionaires.

The Guardian and the BBC led the UK investigation, which named a number of high-level politicians and world leaders.

Here Der Spiegel looks at some of the greatest stories to date.

Tony Blair saved £ 312,000 in stamp duty in his London office

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie Blair are among those mentioned in the newspapers £ 6.5 million Marylebone office used by Ms. Blair for Omina Strategy.

Typically a commercial purchase of £ 6.45m worth of property would earn £ 312,000 in stamp duty.

But the bill was not charged because the townhouse was not sold, rather the British Virgin Islands-based company that owned it – Romanstone International Limited – was bought by the Blairs.

After their financial agreements surfaced in the Pandora Papers, the two angrily denied that they were wrong.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie Blair (pictured 1997) are featured in the newspapers
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The Blairs quickly closed down the offshore company that owned the townhouse and the townhouse is now owned by a British company jointly owned by Mr and Mrs Blair.

There is no evidence that any rules or laws have been broken, although the sale highlights a loophole that has allowed wealthy property buyers to avoid paying taxes that ordinary Britons have to pay.

A spokeswoman said: “The seller was an offshore company. The Blairs had nothing to do with the original company or with those behind it.

“The seller sold the company, not the property, again a decision the Blairs had nothing to do with.

“Since the purchase was a business, no buyer would have had to pay UK stamp duty on this transaction.

“However, since the Blairs then repatriated the company and brought it ashore, they are liable for capital gains and other taxes on reselling the property, which are well in excess of any stamp duty.

“For the record, the Blairs pay full taxes on all their income. And have never used offshore programs to hide transactions or avoid taxes.”

The King of Jordan has built a real estate empire worth £ 70 million in the UK and the US

Jordan’s King Abdullah, a close ally of the United States, reportedly spent more than $ 100 million on luxury real estate in the United Kingdom and the United States through offshore accounts.

The nation is currently receiving a significant amount of international aid, including from the US and UK, despite the king’s lawyers saying he used his personal fortune to buy 15 houses in the two nations since he came to power in 1999.

It also comes when he has faced riot over austerity and tax hikes and protests have taken place at home.

Jordan’s King Abdullah and Queen Rania leave St Paul’s Cathedral in central London after a memorial service for the late King Hussein of Jordan

The leak comes a year after the Jordanian authorities announced crackdown on money sent abroad by their citizens.

DLA Piper, a London law firm representing Abdullah, told the consortium of media outlets that it “has never misused public funds or in any way used the proceeds of any public aid or assistance”.

The Royal Palace said King Abdullah’s ownership of the land is no secret, but privacy and security concerns are the reason it has not been disclosed.

Major donor of the Conservative Party “involved in one of the biggest corruption scandals in Europe”

The leak mentions, among other things, a large donor from the Conservative Party.

Mohamed Amersi, 61, has donated nearly £ 525,000 to the party since 2018, but newspapers claim he was implicated in one of Europe’s biggest corruption scandals.

The corporate attorney reportedly worked on a series of controversial deals for Swedish telecommunications company Telia, which was later fined $ 965 million (£ 700 million) in the United States.

Mr Amersi reportedly advised Telia on a £ 162 million deal with the daughter of former Uzbek ruler Islam Karimov – a payment that US authorities later referred to as a “bribe”.

Mohamed Amersi, 61, reportedly worked on a number of controversial deals for Swedish telecommunications company Telia, which was later fined $ 965 million (£ 700 million) in the United States
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Telia later accepted that the money given to Gulnara Karimova was a “corrupt payment”.

Mr. Amersi’s lawyers have denied that he “knowingly” helped facilitate corrupt payments and had “no reason” to believe that the money given to Ms. Karimova would be a bribe.

They added that plans for a deal existed two years before he was involved.

They said the underlying arrangements for the deal were made two years prior to its involvement.

The leak comes as the Conservative Party gathers in Manchester for its party conference and Chancellor Rishi Sunak promises to search the papers for evidence of tax avoidance.

Mr Sunak, who is very wealthy, has denied ever benefiting from an offshore arrangement.

He told Sky News, “No. I have. I saw these things overnight … and of course HMRC will look through them to see if we can learn anything. “

Shakira “used offshore”British Virgin Islands businesses to hide assets “

The Hips Don’t Lie singer has been accused in the newspapers of starting offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands.

The 44-year-old’s lawyers said she had declared the offshore companies and said their existence did not offer any tax breaks.

Hips Don’t Lie singer Shakira has been accused in the newspapers of starting offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands
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Shakira is already in litigation with the Spanish government, which has accused her of not paying taxes in Spain in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

The singer said she did not reside in Spain during this time and was living in the Bahamas.

In July, a Spanish judge ruled that there was “sufficient evidence” to bring her to justice for over £ 12 million tax evasion.

Azerbaijan’s ruling Aliyev family “secretly collected British property”

the The Aliyev family, ruling Azerbaijan, are accused of secretly collecting British property through offshore bank accounts.

The files show how the family, long accused of corruption in the European nation, bought 17 properties, including an office building, for £ 33 million in 2009.

However, a month later, their 11-year-old son Heydar Aliyev was transferred.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev (L) and his wife Mehriban Aliyeva pictured in 2010
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Research also revealed how another family office building nearby was sold to the Crown Estate for £ 66 million in 2018.

The Crown Estate said it was doing the legally required checks at the time of the purchase but is now looking into the matter

The Guardian reported that the property served as a “front” for the family of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, whose record has long been criticized by anti-corruption activists.

A Crown Estate spokesman said: “Before we bought 56-60 Conduit Street, we carried out checks, including those required by UK law.

“At this point in time, we have not found any reason why the transaction should not go ahead. Given the possible concerns, we are looking into the matter.”

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta under pressure to explain how relatives amassed $ 30 million in offshore wealth

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta is one of the leading politicians in the world who is featured in the newspapers.

He and six of his relatives raised $ 30 million (£ 22 million) in offshore fortunes , including property in London, the papers revealed.

Kenyatta has long portrayed itself as an enemy of corruption, telling the BBC in 2018, “Every civil servant’s property must be publicly declared so that people can ask and ask: What is legitimate?”

The Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is one of the leading politicians in the world mentioned in the newspapers
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Putin linked to secret assets in Monaco

The leak links Russian President Vladimir Putin to secret assets in Monaco, including an exclusive block under the Monte Carlo Casino that was bought for his alleged mistress in 2003 for £ 3.1 million the guard.

The official buyer was Brockville Development Ltd, an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands, but the papers show that the benefactress was Svetlana Krivonogikh.

The then 28-year-old comes from a modest background, but seems to have won Putin as a donor in the 1990s.

She is said to have met him during his tenure as deputy mayor of St. Petersburg and to have become his lover. She is said to have given birth to his daughter the same year the Monaco apartment was purchased.

But according to the Pandora papers, some of Putin’s inner circle also used Monaco as a discreet hub for their financial affairs, with Russian influence in the state growing.

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