A new report sheds light on how world leaders, powerful politicians, billionaires and others have used offshore accounts to shield assets collectively worth trillions of dollars over the past quarter-century.
The report released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) is being dubbed the “Pandora Papers” because the findings shed light on the previously hidden dealings of the elite and the corrupt.
Hundreds of politicians, celebrities, religious leaders and drug dealers have been hiding their investments in mansions, exclusive beachfront property, yachts and other assets.
That's according to a review of nearly 12 million files obtained from 14 firms located around the world. The files reportedly include private emails, secret spreadsheets, clandestine contracts, and other records.
The Washington Post reports that 14 current country leaders among those who appear to have used the secretive offshore system to hide assets, including King Abdullah II of Jordan and leaders of the Czech Republic, Kenya, Ecuador and other nations.
The Post reports that the files detail over 29,000 offshore accounts, including more than 130 people listed as billionaires by Forbes and nearly 330 public officials in more than 90 countries and territories.
According to The Guardian, the papers also put a spotlight on places in the U.S. that appear to be tax havens, particularly the state of South Dakota, which is reportedly sheltering billions of dollars in wealth linked to people previously accused of financial crimes.
The Post says millions of dollars from outside of the U.S. are being sheltered by trust companies in Sioux Falls, some of which is tied to individuals and businesses accused of human rights abuses and other misconduct.