Pandora Papers: World leaders deny wrongdoing after leaks

Pandora Papers: World leaders deny wrongdoing after leaks

Several world leaders implicated in the same documents have denied wrongdoing after featuring in a huge leak of financial documents from offshore companies.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has reacted to the Pandora papers expose which went viral on Monday morning with shocking revelations on how world leaders and politicians are running strings of discrete offshore businesses to beat tax brackets and lender grips.

Mr. Kenyatta issued a statement barely 24 hours after the expose containing ‘‘11.9 million records, amounting to about 2.94 terabytes of data’’ and implicating over 300 politicians and over 30 world leaders.

His family was accused of running $30 million offshore businesses with suspect financial dealings.

“The Pandora Papers and subsequent follow-up audits will lift that veil of secrecy and darkness for those who cannot explain their assets or wealth,” President Kenyatta said in a statement.

He went on to add: ‘‘these reports will go a long way in enhancing the financial transparency and openness that we require in Kenya and around the globe. The movement of illicit funds, proceeds of crime, and corruption thrive in an environment of secrecy and darkness,” he said.

Kenyatta who is in the US for a UN engagement then concluded by say ‘‘I will respond comprehensively on my return from my State Visit to America.”

More denials

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Jordan’s King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein are among some 35 current and former leaders linked to the files.

Both have issued statements saying they have “done nothing wrong”.

Jordan’s royal palace said it was “not unusual nor improper” that King Abdullah owned property abroad.

Leaked documents show the leader secretly spent more than £70m ($100m) on a property empire in the UK and US since taking power in 1999.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov meanwhile questioned the reliability of the “unsubstantiated” information, after it detailed hidden wealth linked to President Putin and members of his inner circle.

“For now it is just not clear what this information is and what it is about,” he told reporters, adding that “we didn’t see any hidden wealth of Putin’s inner circle in there”.

The data was obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in Washington DC, which has been working with more than 140 media organizations on its biggest ever global investigation.

BBC Panorama and the Guardian have led the investigation in the UK.

In a tweet thread, the Czech prime minister said the allegations are an attempt to influence elections scheduled for this week and insisted he has “never done anything wrong or illegal”.

Mr. Kenyatta said the investigation “will go a long way in enhancing the financial transparency and openness that we require in Kenya and around the globe”, and promised to “respond comprehensively” to the leak once he returned from a state visit abroad.

The Pandora Papers show no evidence that the Kenyatta family stole or hid state assets in their offshore companies.

And a statement from Mr. Piñera’s office said he denied taking part in or having any information on the sale of the Dominga mining project.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has vowed to investigate citizens linked to the Pandora Papers. Hundreds of Pakistanis, including members of Mr. Khan’s cabinet, are linked to the leak.

The Pandora Papers is a leak of almost 12 million documents and files exposing the secret wealth and dealings of world leaders, politicians, and billionaires.

The data was obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in Washington DC which has led one of the biggest ever global investigations.

More than 600 journalists from 117 countries have looked at the hidden fortunes of some of the most powerful people on the planet.

MORE FROM NATIONAL