RESPONDING TO THE BOMBSHELL
Several well-known public figures among the hundreds implicated have reacted to a huge expos by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists that uncovers a sprawling network of tax-evasion schemes involving shell companies and offshore tax havens. Here are a few of the most prominent:
BRITISH P.M. DAVID CAMERON
Cameron is under pressure to crack down on offshore tax havens after the leak disclosed details of the asset-hiding arrangements of his late father. Ian Cameron, who died in 2010, used a Panamanian fund and other offshore havens to shield investments from UK taxes. The prime minister’s office said the Cameron family’s investments were a “private matter.”
RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN
“It’s bulls--t,” Andrey Kostin, chief executive officer of the Russian VTB Bank, told Bloomberg Television. The reports said Putin was linked to a “clandestine network” operated by his associates that had shuffled at least $2 billion through banks and offshore companies. Almost invariably, the report said, money and power moved through that network “to companies and people allied to Putin.”
Icelandic P.M. Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson
Gunnlaugsson insisted Monday he would not resign after he was linked to an offshore company that would represent a serious conflict of interest. The report has prompted calls for a no-confidence vote in parliament against him.
Spanish movie director Pedro Almodovar
The brother and business manager of Spanish movie director Pedro Almodovar is blaming his lack of experience for a decision to set up an offshore company. The director and his brother, Agustin Almodovar, were listed as the agents of a British Virgin Islands company from 1991 to 1994. Agustin Almodovar apologized for the “damage my brother’s public image is suffering, caused only by my lack of experience in the first few years of our family business.”
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko
Poroshenko insists he has done nothing wrong and hasn’t managed his assets since being elected in 2014. The candy magnate, who moved his business to the British Virgin Islands when Russia invaded the Ukraine, is facing calls for his removal from office.
Former Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili
A spokesman for the ruling party in the former Soviet republic of Georgia says former prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has nothing to hide. Ivanishvili, a reclusive billionaire, stepped down in 2013 but continues to wield influence over the government without holding formal office.
Uruguayan FIFA official Juan Pedro Damiani
The FIFA ethics prosecution chamber said Monday that it “opened a preliminary investigation to review the allegations” against lawyer Damiani — a FIFA judge who helped ban Sepp Blatter for financial misconduct — after he was named in the probe.
Alitalia chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo
Italian weekly L’Espresso says about 1,000 Italian clients turned up in the database of offshore accounts cited by ICIJ, including Alitalia chairman Montezemolo. Sources close to Montezemolo told Turin’s La Stampa that “neither he nor his family have offshore companies.”