WASHINGTON, (Agency) – A massive leak of financial documents was published by
several major news organizations on Sunday that allegedly tie world leaders to secret stores
of wealth, including King Abdullah of Jordan, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis and
associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Pandora Papers investigation exposes
civilian government and military leaders who have been hiding vast amounts of wealth in a
country plagued by widespread poverty and tax avoidance.
The dump of more than 11.9 million records, amounting to about 2.94 terabytes of data, came
five years after the leak known as the “Panama Papers” exposed how money was hidden by
the wealthy in ways that law enforcement agencies could not detect.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a Washington, D.C.-based
network of reporters and media organizations, said the files are linked to about 35 current and
former national leaders, and more than 330 politicians and public officials in 91 countries and
territories. It did not say how the files were obtained, and Reuters could not independently
verify the allegations or documents detailed by the consortium.
While his country survives on foreign aid, Jordan's King Abdullah, a close ally of the United
States, was alleged to have used offshore accounts to spend more than $100 million on luxury
homes in the United Kingdom and the United States.
The Washington Post, which is part of the consortium, also reported on the case of Svetlana
Krivonogikh, a Russian woman who it said became the owner of a Monaco apartment
through an offshore company incorporated on the Caribbean island of Tortola in April 2003
just weeks after she gave birth to a girl. At the time, she was in a secret, years-long
relationship with Putin, the newspaper said, citing Russian investigative outlet Proekt.
The Post said Krivonogikh, her daughter, who is now 18, and the Kremlin did not respond to
requests for comment.
Days ahead of the Czech Republic’s Oct. 8-9 parliamentary election, the documents allegedly
tied the country’s prime minister, Babis, to a secret $22 million estate in a hilltop village near
Cannes, France. Speaking during a television debate on Sunday, Babis denied any
“The money left a Czech bank, was taxed, it was my money, and returned to a Czech bank,”
The documents also showed how Indian businessman Anil Ambani and his representatives
owned at least 18 offshore companies in Jersey, British Virgin Islands and Cyprus, according
to an Indian media outlet, part of the ICIJ consortium.
Set up between 2007 and 2010, seven of these companies have borrowed and invested at least
$1.3 billion, the report said. In 2020, following a dispute with three Chinese state-controlled
banks, Ambani – the chairman of Reliance Group – had told a London court his net worth was
A unnamed lawyer, on behalf of Anil Ambani, told the media : “Our client is a tax resident of
India and has made disclosures to Indian authorities as required to be made in compliance
with law. All required considerations were taken into account when making disclosures
before the London court. The Reliance Group conducts business globally and for legitimate
business and regulatory requirements, companies are incorporated in different jurisdictions.
“Ambani did not immediately respond to a request from Reuters seeking comment.
The leaked documents also reveals that key members of Imran Khan, Pakistani PM’s inner
circle, including cabinet ministers, their families and major financial backers have secretly
owned an array of companies and trusts holding millions of dollars of hidden wealth. Military
leaders have been implicated as well.
Among those whose holdings have been exposed are Khan’s finance minister, Shaukat Fayaz
Ahmed Tarin, and his family, and the son of Khan’s former adviser for finance and revenue,
Waqar Masood Khan. The records also reveal the offshore dealings of a top PTI donor, Arif
Naqvi, who is facing fraud charges in the United States.