A new comprehensive study of 12 million internal files from 14 major international firms has revealed even more than previously known about how much the world’s wealthy elite have hidden their wealth from domestic tax requirements, according to CBS News.
The report, dubbed the “Pandora Papers,” was conducted by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which consisted of over 600 journalists from 150 media outlets in 117 different countries. The findings, released on Sunday, included celebrities, politicians, businessmen, and religious leaders, among others; these and other figures went to great extents to hide their wealth in offshore assets such as yachts, mansions, beachfront properties, and other properties for the last 25 years.
Among the over 330 figures targeted in the reporting are former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair, King Abdullah II of Jordan, Prime Minister Andrej Babis of the Czech Republic, and close associates of Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan, and President Vladimir Putin of Russia.
Following the release of the findings, several lawmakers from around the world called for action to be taken to strengthen domestic tax laws. Sven Giegold, a member of the European Parliament affiliated with the Green Party, said that these reports “must be a wake-up call,” and that “global tax evasion fuels global inequality. We need to expand and sharpen the countermeasures now.”
The group Oxfam International, a coalition of British charities, also praised the work done by the reporters behind the Pandora Papers, saying that “this is where our missing hospitals are…Whenever a politician or business leader claims there is ‘no money’ to pay for climate damage and innovation, for more and better jobs, for a fair post-COVID recovery, for more overseas aid, they know where to look.”
Most of the figures named in the report did not issue statements in response to the allegations. But the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, issued a statement on Twitter denouncing the “ill-gotten wealth of elites, accumulated through tax evasion and corruption, and laundered out to financial ‘havens.’”
Prime Minister Andrej Babis of the Czech Republic, who is running for re-election in the upcoming legislative elections this Friday and Saturday, released a statement saying that he “was waiting for them to bring something right before the election to harm me and influence the Czech election,” adding that he had “never done anything illegal or wrong.”