In early April, a group of journalists revealed 11.5 million confidential documents from the off-shore services firm, Mossack Fonseca. Known as the Panama Papers leak, a number of wealthy individuals were shown to be involved. Here are some of the most prominent names involved:
1. Sigmundur Davío Gunnlaugsson
Former Prime Minister of Iceland
Documents indicate that Gunnlaugsson and his wife have set up a company called Wintris in the British Virgin Islands. The Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca, helped the couple out with setting up their company. The Prime Minister is accused of not disclosing his involvement with the company. He stepped down from his position as the Prime Minister of Iceland early April.
2. Ian Cameron
Father of David Cameron, Prime Minister of Britain
Cameron faced accusations and government inquiry after documents from the Panama leaks indicated that his family held undisclosed wealth in tax havens offshore. Cameron’s father, Ian Cameron, ran an offshore fund that avoided paying taxes in Britain by hiring a small group of Bahamas residents. The residents were signing the company’s paperwork. Ian Cameron was a director of Blairmore Holdings Inc., which is an investment fund operating from the Bahamas, but named after the family’s ancestral home in Aberdeenshire. This company managed millions of pounds on behalf of rich families.
3. Roldugin, Arkady Rotenberg and Boris Rotenberg
Friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin
Although Putin isn’t directly linked to the Panama leaks, some of his closest associates are said to be involved. Documents revealed that Sergei Roldugin owns over Dh7 billion in offshore assets. Other reports show that his bank channeled money to Putin’s family. Putin has since denied all of these allegations and categorised this accusation as a Western media stunt against him.
4. Amitabh Bachchan
Bollywood actor and Indian celebrity
The documents show Bachchan as a director of four shipping firms in the British Virgin Islands and Bahamas. One of the companies is located in British Virgin Islands and the other three are in the Bahamas. All of these are in operation since 1993.
These companies do business worth millions of dollars.
5. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Global celebrity and former Miss World
Before 2008, she was a director in a firm located in the British Virgin Islands. Her family including brother and parents were also registered as directors in 2005 of Amic Partners Limited. Her status in the company later changed to shareholder before the company shut down in 2008. Since the Panama leaks scandal broke, Bachchan has remained silent on the issue.
6. Jackie Chan
Hollywood action movie star and global celebrity
Reports show that Chan owns at least six companies that are managed by the Panama law firm. These firms are based in the British Virgin Islands. The holdings include companies called Jumbo Jaz Investment, Jackie Chan Ltd. and Dragon Stream Ltd.
7. Simon Cowell
Reality TV judge and TV producer
He is the main shareholder of two British Virgin Islands companies called Southstreet Ltd. and Eaststreet Ltd. Both of these companies were set up in 2007 when Cowell was planning to buy two plots of land in Barbados. None of these companies were used and now, they are temporarily inactive.
8. Nawaz Sharif
Prime Minister of Pakistan
The documents leaked show that Sharif’s children Mariam, Hasan and Hussain own offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands, but the assets are not shown on Sharif’s family wealth statement. Mariam owns Nielson Enterprises Ltd. and Nescoll Ltd. The reports also show that the kids have rights to authorise transactions for the firms. Hasan is the sole director of Hangon Property Holdings Ltd., incorporated in the British Virgin Islands in 2007. Some of the firms were used to channel funds to acquire assets in London. The Prime Minister of Pakistan has denied these allegations.
9. Lionel Messi
Argentinian soccer player
In addition to the tax evasion allegations that he is facing in Spain, Messi is also on the list of public figures involved in the Panama Papers leak.
Reports show that Messi and his father are charged with three counts of tax fraud and could face prison time for up to two years. Messi and his father also owners of a Panama company called Mega Star Enterprises Inc.
10. Petro Poroshenko
President of Ukraine
Poroshenko set up a secret offshore company in the British Virgin Islands. Documents from Mossack Fonseca reveal that in 2014, Poroshenko registered the company, Prime Asset Partners Ltd. Other records indicate that he is the only shareholder in the firm. The president claims to have disclosed all his assets in accordance to Ukrainian law.