The global investigation into the secretive industry of offshore that the globe’s powerful and rich use to hide assets and bend the rules by setting up secret companies in far away jurisdictions of their residency is the Panama Papers.
Based on a trove of more than 11.5 million leaked files, the investigation exposes a cast of characters who use offshore companies to facilitate bribery, arms deals, tax evasion, financial fraud and drug trafficking. The records were obtained from an anonymous source by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which shared them with Washington based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The ICIJ then shared them with a large network of international partners, including the BBC and Guardian newspaper.
This is the story of African leaders and their families that are named in the leaked.
Mamadou Pouye is a childhood friend of Karim Wade, who is the son of Senegal’s former President Abdoulaye Wade and held several key ministries during his father’s presidency. Karim Wade and Pouye were arrested in April 2013 after investigations into a corruption scandal in which Wade and associates were charged with ilegally amassing assets worth $240 million.
Following periods of detention and a trial in Senegal, Wade and Pouye were sentenced to six and five years in jail in March 2015 respectively by a judge who said that Wade had hidden away funds in offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands and Panama , Pouye was described as the mastermind of Wade’s illegal activities.
Inside the Mossack Fonseca data Offshore companies received millions for consulting services related to the port in Senegal’s capital, Dakar. Pouye first appeared in Mossack Fonseca’s files in October 2008, instructing the law firm to open a bank account for the Panama company Seabury Inc. Between December 2008 and August 2012, two companies connected to Pouye — the Panamanian Latvae Group, of which he was shareholder, and Seabury, in which his role was unspecified — signed contracts worth about $35 million for consulting and advisory services relating to the port in Senegal’s capital, Dakar.
At the corruption trial against Pouye and Karim Wade, which has been criticized by the United Nations and human rights organizations for violating the rights of Wade, Pouye and others, authorities alleged that they enriched themselves through government contracts, involving the port, the airport and other activities.
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John Addo Kufuor is the eldest son of Ghana’s former president, John A. Kufuor, who led the country from 2001 to 2009. A trained accountant, the younger Kufuor has worked in the hotel industry. Throughout 2005, local media in Ghana reported allegations that he gained lucrative government contracts and private sector business deals through paternal connections. An official commission later found no evidence of wrongdoing.
Inside the Mossack Fonseca data His offshore company controlled a $75,000 bank account for Kufour and his mother. In early 2001, shortly after the start of his father’s first presidential term, Kufuor appointed Mossack Fonseca to manage The Excel 2000 Trust. Later that year, it controlled a bank account in Panama worth $75,000. His mother – Theresa Kufuor, then-Ghana’s first lady – was also a beneficiary. In November 2010, an employee in Mossack Fonseca’s compliance office in the British Virgin Islands suggested to colleagues that “due to the apparent prevalence of corruption surrounding Mr. Kufour we would not recommend us taking him on as a client or continuing business with him.” Mossack Fonseca, however, continued to do business with Kufuor. In 2012, Kufuor asked Mossack Fonseca to close the trust. Files also connected Kufuor with BVI companies Fordiant Ltd and Stamford International Investments Group Limited. Both were registered when Kufuor’s father was president of Ghana and became inactive in 2004 and 2007.
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Jean-Claude N’Da Ametchi is a banking executive from the Ivory Coast. In April 2011, the European Union sanctioned N’Da Ametchi for allegedly helping to fund the “illegitimate administration” of former president Laurent Gbagbo. Gbagbo oversaw a civil conflict in which 3,000 people were killed when he refused to accept his defeat in the 2010 presidential elections. Gbagbo was arrested in April 2011 and is currently detained by the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity.
Inside the Mossack Fonseca data An offshore firm held assets for N'Da Ametchi and a bank account in Monaco. Cadley House Ltd. was registered in the Seychelles in 2006. Although the company was at first held through so-called bearer shares, which do not list an offshore company’s owner, emails confirm that the firm belonged to N’Da Ametchi. The company’s purpose was described as “management of personal assets…[and] ownership of a bank account in the Principality of Monaco.” In one 2011 email from N’Da Ametchi to Mossack Fonseca’s Geneva office, the business executive discussed selling assets and the transfer of nearly $5,000. Although N’Da Ametchi’s financial managers told Mossack Fonseca in 2014 that “the beneficial owner of the company does not wish to maintain his company and wish to terminate it,” the company was still active in 2015. There is no indication from emails whether Mossack Fonseca was aware of the European sanctions.
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Abdeslam Bouchouareb is a member of Parliament and current minister of industry and mines in Algeria. Inside the Mossack Fonseca data Offshore company said to be used for business activities in Turkey, the United Kingdom and Algeria. Abdeslam Bouchouareb has been the sole owner of the Panamanian company Royal Arrival Corp., which was created in April 2015, since July 2015 . Through this company, Bouchouareb held a Swiss bank account at NBAD Private Bank SA. He managed Royal Arrival Corp. via a Luxembourg company, Compagnie d'Etude et de Conseil (CEC). In emails sent to Mossack Fonseca, CEC said the activities of Royal Arrival Corp. were commercial representation and negotiation, commercial contracts, public works, railway and maritime transport, which took place in Turkey, the United Kingdom and in Algeria. When Mossack Fonseca requested information about Bouchouareb, a form submitted by CEC identified him as the "Minister of Industry and Mines".
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