UBS, HSBC, Deutsche Bank and Barclays are just some of the banks involved in the latest batch of Panama Papers.
The secret offshore financial dealings also implicated relatives of President Xi Jinping and other senior Chinese figures, aides to Russian president Vladimir Putin, and celebrities including Jackie Chan and Barcelona footballer Lionel Messi.
The ICIJ has posted a database of the names and addresses of the individuals and companies concerned on its website, icij.org.
Anyone from the public to financial authorities can access the information. A number of high profile banks were exposed as having links to offshore companies. The Swiss investment bank, UBS, was exposed as having 29 units and people linked to offshore entities while one member of staff was confirmed as a director of one of the companies based abroad. HSBC has interests in 18 offshore entities with 63 of the bank’s master clients and officers involved in foreign companies. Deutsche Bank’s Hong Kong division has links to 59 offshore entities although the main bank headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany, has no offshore entities attached to it. The Societe General Bank & Trust’s Singapore branch is said to have ties to 48 offshore entities. The bank’s main entity, which is based in France, has no offshore companies associated with it, the Panama Papers show. Bank Julius Baer & Co., a prestigious Swiss bank, was found to have links to 52 offshore entities. Credit Suisse Group has a handful of business interests abroad too, according to our investigation.
A new batch of documents, selected from the over 11.5 million documents of the Panama Papers, went live at 2:00 p.m. ET on Monday.
The new data can be accessed from the ICIJ through a searchable database where you find the link here above and includes the names of directors and shareholders of more than 200,000 entities set up through Mossack Fonseca, as well as intermediary agencies involved in running accounts.
Switzerland defends itself against Panama Papers
A vast trove of data linking shell companies with tax havens has highlighted the role played by Swiss banks and financial intermediaries in concealing the fortunes of the wealthy from prying eyes. The database shows that 1,339 Swiss lawyers, financial advisors and other middlemen had set up more than 38,000 offshore entities over the last 40 years. These entities listed 4,595 officers – or administrators – that are also connected to Switzerland.
While the use of offshore entities is not in itself illegal, the revelations from the Panama Papers have already resulted in a raid by Swiss prosecutors on European football’s governing body UEFA and an official investigation by the authorities in Geneva. But some Swiss lawyers have hit back, saying that the documents provide no proof of wrongdoing. Swiss Finance Minister Ueli Maurer has also gone on record to say Swiss law does not need changing with regards the regulation of offshore entities.
While it is not illegal to keep money in offshore accounts, they can be used to hide assets and confuse tax authorities.
See here which countries and some prominent starlets and politicians were already disclosed by the newly leaked database.
Chinese dominate ‘Panama Papers’
Hong Kong and mainland China top the global list of people and companies hiding money in secretive offshore tax havens. Hong Kong alone contributed almost 26,000 individuals and entities, or 10 per cent of the total, while the mainland added 33,300. They were followed by Taiwan, with 19,600 people or companies involved.
Most of them were not previously known to be operating offshore companies administered by Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm from which 11.5 million documents were leaked.
In total, 25,000 entities in China were revealed by the massive data leak known as the Panama Papers. An Anglophile Hong Kong businessman whose private equity firm launched a GBP 350 million fund to invest in small and medium-sized firms in the UK has been named in Panama Papers.
Victor Chu, who graduated with a law degree from University College London (UCL) and has practised law in Britain, is the founder and chairman of the First Eastern Investment Group, which launched the fund in 2010 to help British firms break into the Chinese market during a visit to Beijing by David Cameron. And yet again here David Cameron is tied to the Panama Papers in a very strange way.
Golfer Pádraig Harrington, developer Seán Mulryan and former U2 manager and businessman Paul McGuinness are among a new list of Irish names connected to the Panama Papers.Malta
Malta Former PN Minister
Former PN Minister Ninu Zammit’s name is among the list of Maltese names found in the Panama Papers revealed tonight. His company, which was called Fiveolive Services Inc, was incorporated by Mossack Fonseca on 23 February 2005 in the British Virgin Islands and was struck off in November 2015, a few months after The Malta Independent’s partnership with ICIJ revealed that the Swiss Leaks contained his secret Swiss bank account under the name of Nester trade Inc.
Ninu Zammit had USD 3.2 million in a secret Swiss HSBC bank account, which he maintained through annual visits to Switzerland while he was still a Cabinet member. Opposition leader
In addition, they show offshore holdings of 12 current and former world leaders. Their names cannot be disclosed to the public because of identity rights right now.
None of America’s 100 senators appear by name in the Panama Papers, according to an initial search. That does not mean that none have offshore investments, simply that among the thousands of Americans listed in the documents, none have a seat in the upper house.
Fewer prominent Americans have been named in the Panama Papers as might be expected, but tax experts say this is mainly because wealthy Americans have other avenues by which to store their money outside the reach of the Internal Revenue Service. Most of the U.S. citizens cited in the documents bought shell companies or overseas trusts with the help of Mossack Fonseca.
Among the three dozen individuals listed by the ICIJ, which has managed the investigation and release of the leaks, is former American football player Leonard Gotshalk.
Gotshalk, who played for the Atlanta Falcons during the 1970s, supposedly gave Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca a USD 3,055 wire transfer to open a shell company in the British Virgin Islands, a popular tax haven, in 2010.
Most of the U.S. citizens cited in the documents bought shell companies or overseas trusts with the help of Mossack Fonseca, which is at the center of the scandal. Although purchasing shell companies is not illegal, it is illegal for the companies to be used for laundering, fraud or tax evasion purposes.
An associate of the Mexican president, Juan Armando Hinojosa, is among those named in the Panama Papers. A construction tycoon, he built the house owned by Enrique Pena Nieto’s soap star wife, Angelica Rivera, which caused the couple considerable embarrassment in 2014. Mr. Pena is godfather to Mr. Hinojosa’s son, and the businessman is well known in Mexico.
Argentina and Messi
Lionel Messi, the Argentine football star, is said to be among those named on the Panama Papers through his company, Mega Star Enterprises Inc. The company, founded in February 2012, has an office in the Uruguayan capital Montevideo but is under the jurisdiction of Panama. Messi, who has been under investigation by Spanish authorities for tax evasion since June 2013, is thought to own the company with his father, Jorge Horacio Messi. They are accused of using companies in Belize and Uruguay to avoid taxes. The two shareholders named in the Panama Leaks are “el portador” or the holder. Neither Messi nor his father are identifiable, unless you know that Mega Star Enterprises is owned by them.