Along with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and other international anti-corruption journalism organizations, ZAMI REPORTS participated in the largest ever survey of the offshore world. A global investigation, whose African wave reveals the financial secrets of politicians, billionaires and the continent’s elite. A system that involves enormous losses for Africa and its populations already in the grip of numerous crises.
For nearly 2 years, journalists from West Africa, Central, East and South Africa rummaged through millions of documents to understand and reveal the concealment of wealth in tax havens around the world.
Businessmen, celebrities, politicians
The Pandora Papers investigation is an initiative of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) – with which CENOZO has been associated to lead in Africa – which exposes the global tangle of political power and finance offshore secrets.
Based on the largest tax haven file leak in history, investigation reveals secret deals and hidden assets of more than 330 politicians and senior officials in more than 90 countries and territories, including 35 leaders of countries.
Ambassadors, mayors and ministers, presidential advisers, generals and a central bank governor are on the files.
ICIJ has obtained and shared with CENOZO over 11.9 million financial records, containing 2.94 terabytes of confidential information from 14 offshore service providers. These companies create and manage shell companies and trusts in tax havens around the world.
The files reveal the secret offshore assets of more than 130 billionaires from 45 countries, including 46 Russian oligarchs. In 2021, according to Forbes, 100 of the richest in the world hold a collective fortune of more than $ 600 billion. Other clients of these offshore service providers include bankers, political authorities, arms dealers, international criminals, pop stars, spy bosses and sports giants.
The biggest journalistic collaboration in history.
2 years of investigations, more than 600 journalists in 117 countries and territories around the world. It is the largest journalistic collaboration in history. In Africa, CENOZO coordinated and supported the work of around 30 investigators in around 20 countries from West Africa, to the East of the continent, via the South and the Center.
These documents revealed in this investigation called Pandora Papers span several decades, with most of the shell companies being formed between 1996 and 2020. They include information on more than 29,000 beneficial owners, the ultimate owners of offshore assets. That’s more than double the number of owners found five years ago in the Panama Papers and West Africa Leaks investigation, which was based on a leak from a single law firm.
Owning an offshore company is legal in itself, but the secrecy it provides can cover illicit cash flows, enabling corruption, money laundering, tax evasion, terrorist financing and human trafficking. and other human rights violations, experts say. The Pandora Papers offer new perspectives on international corruption scandals, including the high-profile corruption operation of Brazilian giant Odebrecht SA, the international football scandal known as FIFAGate and the alleged looting of Venezuelan public assets.
What about Africa?
Poor countries are disproportionately affected by the concealment of wealth in tax havens, which deprive public treasuries of funds to finance roads, schools and hospitals. Pandora Papers investigation reveals that international leaders who could tackle overseas tax evasion have themselves secretly moved money and assets beyond the reach of tax and law enforcement authorities as their citizens suffer. African leaders are singled out: the Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire, the President of Kenya, the President of Gabon, relatives of the presidential palace in Niamey and Dakar, etc.
The Pandora Papers project is a collaboration that builds on the legacy of the Panama and Paradise Papers, and the old myth of Pandora’s box still conjures up a wave of problems and woes.
Through this investigation, it is demonstrated how the United States, in particular, has become an increasingly attractive destination for hidden wealth, although Uncle Sam and his Western allies condemn small countries for allowing the flows. money and assets related to corruption and crime.