Over the weekend, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) broke a story that consequently trended as #PandoraPapers across the world.
The Pandora Papers, according to the BBC, is a leak of almost 12 million documents that reveals hidden wealth, tax avoidance and, in some cases, money laundering by some of the world’s richest and most powerful individuals and families.
The Ugandan Wire has learnt that the leak is a result of work of more than 600 journalists in 117 countries who have been trawling through the files from 14 sources for months, finding stories that started getting published last week.
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.
The Pandora Papers leak includes 6.4 million documents, almost three million images, more than a million emails and almost half-a-million spreadsheets.
Stories revealed so far include:
- the King of Jordan’s £70m spending spree on properties in the UK and US through secretly-owned companies
- Azerbaijan’s leading family’s hidden involvement in property deals in the UK worth more than £400m
- the Czech prime minister’s failure to declare an offshore investment company used to purchase two French villas for £12m
- how the family of Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta’s secretly owned a network of offshore companies for decades
The files expose how some of the most powerful people in the world – including more than 330 politicians from 90 countries – use secret offshore companies to hide their wealth.
Lakshmi Kumar from US think-tank Global Financial Integrity explained that these people “are able to funnel and siphon money away and hide it,” often through the use of anonymous companies.
No stories have come out of any public officials from Uganda so far.