The Pandora Papers

Credit: James O’Brien/OCCRP
Published: October 3, 2021

An 11-year-old boy from Azerbaijan who owned nearly $49 million of prime commercial real estate in London. A Czech prime minister who loaned himself 15 million euros to buy a French chateau. The unofficial wife of a Kazakh president who received a mysterious $30 million payment. A Serbian politician who swore he didn’t own 24 seaside apartments, but really did.

What do all these stories have in common? We found them hidden deep within the files of the global offshore service industry: a coterie of bankers, lawyers, accountants, and registration agents who help hundreds of billions of dollars move undetected around the world every year.

These financial flows connect corrupt and authoritarian regimes with secretive jurisdictions around the world, from Caribbean islands to commercial hubs like London and Dubai. International crime and corruption wouldn’t work without them.

Now, a massive new leak of documents is pulling back the curtain on the offshore industry like never before. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists obtained nearly 12 million files from 14 of these service providers and shared them with more than 600 journalists around the world, including us. We spent more than a year sifting through them to learn how the world’s most powerful people hide their money.

Read on to learn what we found.

The Big Picture

Massive Leak Exposes the Hidden Fortunes of World’s Elite and Crooks

From missing taxes to stolen artworks and smuggled antiquities, the Pandora Papers lays bare exactly how the offshore industry hides the fortunes of the world’s rich and infamous alike.

3 October 2021 Read the article

FAQ: About the Pandora Papers

What are the Pandora Papers? What's an offshore service provider? And why should anyone care?

3 October 2021 Read the article

Interactives


Find out more about the 14 Service Providers at the heart of the Pandora Papers.

What We Found Offshore

Azerbaijan’s Ruling Aliyev Family and Their Associates Acquired Dozens of Prime London Properties Worth Nearly $700 Million

A vast network of offshore companies, administered by service provider Trident Trust and fronted by a small group of trusted cronies, helped the Aliyevs secretly own vast real estate holdings in the British capital.

3 October 2021 Read the article

Opening the Box

Updates and insights on stories we've followed for years, from the Pandora Papers.

the-pandora-papers

Despite Denials, Serbian Finance Minister Owned Luxury Apartments After All

New Information

New documents from the Pandora Papers show that Siniša Mali was the sole shareholder in offshore companies that owned luxury real estate in Bulgaria.

3 October 2021 Read the article

Leaked Documents Expose Lie At Heart of Convicted Cosmetics Fraudster’s Court Defense

New Information

A Slovenian businessman convicted of fraud set up shell companies to hide his trail.

4 October 2021 Read the article

‘Predatory’ Chinese Takeover of Ukraine Defense Firm Was Facilitated by a U.S. Law Firm

New Information

The deal was drafted by global law firm DLA Piper using offshores and proxies, seemingly to avoid antitrust laws. It was financed by huge loans from China Development Bank, meaning the company could fall into Chinese state hands if the purchasing companies default on the loan.

5 October 2021 Read the article

A Latvian Bank’s Last Sweetheart Deal for Kremlin-Linked Clients

New Information

In 2018, payments at Latvia’s ABLV were frozen after the U.S. accused the bank of having “institutionalized money laundering.” Its spun-off corporate services division went on to sign deals with politically sensitive clients to help return frozen funds, the Pandora Papers show.

6 October 2021 Read the article

Belarusian Elites’ Golden Deal With Zimbabwe

New Information

A top Belarusian official negotiated a gold mining venture with Zimbabwe in 2018 — but behind a veil of offshores, it was his own son who stood to benefit.

8 October 2021 Read the article

Putin Loyalist MP Condemned Offshores. But His Father Stashed Tens of Millions Abroad

New Information

The father of Duma representative Lev Kovpak had an offshore company that owned $56 million in cash and investments.

12 October 2021 Read the article

Documents Expose Bucharest Official’s Offshore Networks and Suggest He Embezzled Public Funds

New Information

Leaked corporate data and prosecution files obtained by OCCRP shed light on the business schemes of influential Romanian politician Robert Negoiță.

13 October 2021 Read the article

Secret Offshore Loans Funded Private Croatian Island Resort

New Information

'In 2009, a man known as "Putin’s masseur" bought a luxury villa on a Croatian island. The Pandora Papers show that behind the scenes a former Russian energy minister was playing a key role.'

14 October 2021 Read the article

Partner Stories

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair Purchased London Building Through an Offshore

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair Purchased London Building Through an Offshore

The Guardian - 3 October 2021

Tony and Cherie Blair saved hundreds of thousands of pounds in property taxes when acquiring a multi-million pound London office building from an offshore company partially owned by a prominent Bahraini minister.

    (English)
    Jordanian King’s Secret Offshore Property Purchases

    Jordanian King’s Secret Offshore Property Purchases

    International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) - 3 October 2021

    In the wake of Arab Spring, Jordan’s King Abdullah II used secret offshore companies to buy luxury homes in the United States and United Kingdom.

      (English)
      When Latin America’s Elite Wanted to Hide their Wealth They Turned to This Panama Firm

      When Latin America’s Elite Wanted to Hide their Wealth They Turned to This Panama Firm

      International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) - 3 October 2021

      One of Central America’s most prestigious law firms, Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee (Alcogal) set up offshore companies for 160 politicians and public officials — including some accused of looting their countries.

        (English)
        Documents Show Secret Offshore Fortune of Kenyan President’s Family

        Documents Show Secret Offshore Fortune of Kenyan President’s Family

        Finance Uncovered - 3 October 2021

        Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta came to power promising to fight corruption. Leaked documents in the Pandora Papers show his family has for years amassed a secret offshore fortune worth tens of millions of dollars.

          (English)
          Soccer coach Pep Guardiola used a tax amnesty to regularize an account he held in Andorra

          Soccer coach Pep Guardiola used a tax amnesty to regularize an account he held in Andorra

          El Pais - 3 October 2021

          The Manchester City coach was depositing his salary there while playing at a team in Qatar, and failed to declare it to the Spanish Tax Agency while managing FC Barcelona.

            (English)
            Foreign Money Secretly Floods U.S. Tax Havens. Some of it is Tainted

            Foreign Money Secretly Floods U.S. Tax Havens. Some of it is Tainted

            Washington Post - 4 October 2021

            Moguls and others linked to money laundering, corruption and worker exploitation chose U.S. over the world’s traditional tax havens.

              (English)
              'Pandora Papers': From Morocco to the Persian Gulf, DSK's good fortune in advising governments

              'Pandora Papers': From Morocco to the Persian Gulf, DSK's good fortune in advising governments

              Le Monde - 4 October 2021

              From Tassoultante, south of Marrakech — where he created his first company, Parnasse International in 2013 — the former IMF boss provides political and economic advice to governments that call on his services.

                (French)
                British Virgin Islands documents shed light on Piñera and his family's partnerships in tax havens

                British Virgin Islands documents shed light on Piñera and his family's partnerships in tax havens

                El Pais - 4 October 2021

                The Pandora Papers reveal details on companies created in the names of the Chilean leader’s children.

                  (Spanish)
                  These are the Colombians mentioned, for now, in the Pandora Papers

                  These are the Colombians mentioned, for now, in the Pandora Papers

                  El Espectador - 4 October 2021

                  The Colombian chapter of the Pandora Papers includes 588 names of Colombians that appear as actual owners of offshore companies. They include millionaires, former presidents, ambassadors, former congressmen, family groups and some prosecuted by the courts, who were mainly clients of the Alcogal and Trident Trust firms.

                    (Spanish)
                    Pandora Papers: Businessman linked to Tory donations made millions from alleged fraud

                    Pandora Papers: Businessman linked to Tory donations made millions from alleged fraud

                    BBC - 4 October 2021

                    A businessman whose companies have backed 34 Tory MPs made millions from an allegedly corrupt Russian pipeline deal, leaked files show.

                      (English)
                      Oil exploration, artificial intelligence and dietary supplements: The exotic businesses linked to Mexico’s Legionaries of Christ

                      Oil exploration, artificial intelligence and dietary supplements: The exotic businesses linked to Mexico’s Legionaries of Christ

                      El Pais - 4 October 2021

                      Members of the Roman Catholic religious order operated an offshore scheme that invested at least $18.5m in a portfolio across Mexico.

                        (English)
                        From temples to offshore trusts, a hunt for Cambodia’s looted heritage leads to top museums

                        From temples to offshore trusts, a hunt for Cambodia’s looted heritage leads to top museums

                        ICIJ - 7 October 2021

                        U.S. investigators say Douglas Latchford trafficked ancient treasures for decades. Dozens of relics tied to the accused smuggler remain in the Met and other prominent institutions.

                          (English)

                          Project Credits

                          The Pandora Papers is a global investigation into the global offshore industry, examining nearly 12 million leaked files from 14 service providers. The project was coordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), in collaboration with over 600 journalists — more than 70 of them from OCCRP’s network — in 117 countries.

                          Contributors from OCCRP

                          Reporting and editing: Julia Wallace, Kira Zalan, Aubrey Belford, Pete Jones, Ilya Lozovsky, Miranda Patrucic, Drew Sullivan, Kelly Bloss, Anuška Delić, Alex Dziadosz, Ana Poenariu, Pavla Holcová, Khadija Sharife, Stelios Orphanides, Elena Loginova, Brian Fitzpatrick, Šarūnas Černiauskas, Paul Radu, Anna Babinets, Miglė Krancevičiūtė, Dejan Milovac, Roman Anin, Roman Shleynov, Yulia Alykova, Katya Arenina, Katya Fomina, Alesya Marohovskaya, Sonya Savina, Polina Uzhvak, Jared Ferrie, Matthew Kupfer, Alexandra Li, Metin Dzhumagulov, Graham Stack, Caroline Henshaw, Martin Young, Dmitry Velikovsky, Irina Dolinina, Attila Biro, Iuri Sanduta, Nicolae Cuschevici, Ion Preasca, Marcela Zamosteanu, Stevan Dojčinović, Vesna Radojević, Bojana Pavlović, Milica Vojinović, Marija Vučić, Sara Smolović, Dragana Pećo, Bojana Jovanović, Edik Baghdasaryan, Vahe Sarukhanyan, Stas Ivashkevich, Ales Yarashevich, Atanas Tchobanov , Ante Pavić, Anja Vladisavljević, Dimitar Stoyanov, Ia Asatiani, Nino Bakradze, Nanuka Bregadze, Manana Ghoghoberidze, Aidan Yusif, Andras Petho, Blanka Zoldi, Vyacheslav Abramov, Eldiyar Arykbaev, Matej Zwitter, Maja Čakarić, Mašenjka Bačić

                          Fact-Checking: Birgit Brauer, Dima Stoianov, Olena LaFoy, Sergiu Ipatii, Inna Civirjic, Ivana Jeremić, Bojana Pavlović, Rebekah Ward

                          Research: OCCRP ID

                          Graphics and Illustrations: James O’Brien, Edin Pašović

                          Photo and Video: Will Jordan, Tom Stocks, Aubrey Belford

                          Promotion: Charles Turner

                          Web and Interactive: Mark Nightingale, Tamas Szemann, Joris Heijkant

                          OCCRP Partner Organizations in the Project:

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