America’s wealthiest billionaires, including Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, do not appear in the Panama Papers.
The dump of more than 11.9 million files has turned up the heat on elites from King Abdullah of Jordan to the alleged mistress of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Donald Trump is mentioned due to his involvement in a Panama hotel project, but the Pandora documents don’t appear to reveal significant new information about his accounts.
Financial experts say that the absence of many of America’s wealthiest elites comes down to a lack of incentive due to the generous rates they pay domestically.
Other experts speculated that it may also be that they use different havens, such as the Cayman Islands, which weren’t reflected in the papers.
But if American people are absent from the list, the United States themselves are not.
South Dakota in particular has become a new hub for opaque financial dealings, rivalling the likes of the British Virgin Islands and Switzerland.
Trusts in the state have quadrupled in size in the space of ten years to $360 billion thanks to laws which protect assets from any civil claims such as divorce.
Infamous NSA leaker Edward Snowden mocked the leak, lamenting how the offshore financial industry continued to operate despite ‘two apocalyptic leaks,’ referencing the Panama Papers dump of 2016.
‘The humorous side of this very serious story is that even after two apocalyptic offshore finance/law firm leaks, those industries are still compiling vast databases of ruin, and still secure them with a Post-It Note marked “do not leak,”‘ he tweeted.
Former government computer intelligence consultant Edward Snowden (pictured) is mocking officials after financial documents, deemed the Pandora Papers, allegedly tying world leaders to secret stores of wealth were released Sunday.
He took to social media to mock the firms responsible for hiding the funds
‘Hats off to the source!’ he added, after pointing out that offshore companies are still compiling secret databases with insufficient security despite recent major leaks.
Snowden leaked classified documents in 2013 to show the scale of government snooping on U.S. citizens and has lived in Russia since.
His comments came hours after the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists published the Pandora Papers, which were named in reference to the 2016 Panama Papers that exposed how the rich were hiding funds in offshore accounts.
The Pandora Papers detail more than 29,000 offshore accounts — double the number identified in the Panama Papers — linked to officials in 91 countries and territories.
The Pandora Papers detail more than 29,000 offshore accounts inked to officials in 91 countries and territories. Many of the accounts were designed to evade taxes and conceal assets for other suspicious reasons
The report listed 130 alleged billionaires as account owners. However, America’s wealthiest citizens — including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (left), Tesla founder Elon Musk, Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates and billionaire Warren Buffett (right) — do not appear in the papers
The report showed how world leaders, powerful politicians, billionaires, celebrities, religious leaders and drug dealers have been hiding their investments in mansions, exclusive beachfront property, yachts and other assets for the past quarter-century.
Many of the accounts were designed to evade taxes and conceal assets for other suspicious reasons, according to the report.
The report listed 130 alleged billionaires as account owners but did not include any of America’s wealthiest individuals.
Financial analysts speculate America’s uber-rich — such as Bezos, Buffet, Musk and Gates — have less incentive to use offshore havens due to the low tax rates they pay.
According to a Forbes report published in June, the 25 richest Americans paid a ‘true tax rate’ of 3.4 percent on wealth growth of $401billion between 2014 and 2018.
Bezos reportedly paid a true tax rate of 0.98 percent with Buffet and Musk paying rates of 0.10 percent and 3.27 percent, respectively.
Gates’ true tax rate was not readily available, however, in 2018 he admitted to needing to pay more in taxes.
‘I need to pay higher taxes … I’ve paid more taxes, over $10billion, than anyone else, but the government should require people in my position to pay significantly higher taxes,’ Gates told CNN at the time.
The report showed how world leaders, powerful politicians, billionaires, celebrities, religious leaders and drug dealers have been hiding their investments in mansions, exclusive beachfront property, yachts and other assets for the past quarter-century (Pictured: Monte Carlo Star apartment complex)
The Pandora Papers only encompassed records for 14 financial services entities that were operating in Switzerland, Singapore, Cyprus, Belize and the British Virgin Islands. It is possible that additional firms could be holding Americans’ funds (Pictured: Tony and Cherie Blair’s London office which was purchased via offshore company, according to the report)
Additionally, experts analyzing the Pandora Papers argue that America’s wealth leaders may have utilized other companies or offshore accounts in different jurisdictions to conceal their money.
The Pandora Papers only encompassed records for 14 financial services entities that were operating in Switzerland, Singapore, Cyprus, Belize and the British Virgin Islands.
It is possible that additional firms could be holding Americans’ funds.
Meanwhile, experts argue that the Pandora Papers leak should spark concern as financial shielding can impact citizens for several generations by worsening wealth disparities and crimes such as drug trafficking, ransomware attacks, arms trading and more.
‘The offshore financial system is a problem that should concern every law-abiding person around the world,’ former FBI officer Sherine Ebadi told the newspaper.
‘These systems don’t just allow tax cheats to avoid paying their fair share. They undermine the fabric of a good society.’
Pandora Papers reveal world leaders and their associates avoided taxes and made huge property purchases using secret offshore companies
- Alleged Putin lover Svetlana Krivonogikh purchased a $4.1million apartment below Monaco’s casino via an offshore account in September 2003 – six months after allegedly giving birth to the Russian president’s child. Since becoming friends with Putin, the former cleaner seems to have amassed a luxury portfolio of assets, including a flat in a well-to-do area of St Petersburg, other properties in Moscow and a yacht, coming to a total of $100million – the Kremlin has refused to comment.
- Former British prime minister Mr Blair and his wife Cherie saved some $434,000 (£321,000) in stamp duty when they bought an office in London by purchasing the offshore company that owned it
- King of Jordan Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein was able to secretly add £70million worth of property to his portfolios after purchasing 15 properties in the UK and US – mainly in Malibu, California and in London and Ascot.
- Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his family and close associates snapped up more than $500million (£400million) worth of property in the UK – consisting of 17 properties, including an office block in London for $44.6million (£33million) for the president’s son Heydar Aliyev, aged 11. They also appeared to have made a $41.9million (£31million) profit after selling a London property to the Queen’s Crown Estate, which is managed by the Treasury
- Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis – who is facing an election later this week – failed to declare an offshore investment company used to purchase two villas for $16.2million in the south of France.
- President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta and six of his family members, who were revealed to secretly own 11 offshore companies containing $30million worth of assets.
- Prime minister of Pakistan Imran Khan’s cabinet ministers and their families were shown to own millions of dollars worth of offshore companies.
- President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky was shown to have moved his stake in a secret offshore company just before his victory in the 2019 election.