CM – Britain called on leaked Pandora papers to deal with « dirty money »

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The UK and London in particular are prominently featured in the data dump, with documents showing how wealthy people around the world set up offshore companies to buy real estate and avoid taxes.

Published: October 05, 2021 1:49 PM |

Last updated: October 05, 2021 1:49 PM

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LONDON: The UK Conservative government is facing calls to step up the country’s defenses against « dirty money » after a massive leak of offshore data showed that London in particular is the preferred destination for some of the richest and most powerful people in the world is to hide their cash at checkout.

The cache of nearly 12 million files known as « Pandora Papers » was opened on Sunday by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and its media partners, including the UK Guardian and the BBC.

The UK and London in particular are prominently featured in the data dump, with documents showing how wealthy people around the world are starting offshore companies to buy real estate and avoid taxes .

The beneficiaries of this type of offshore account in London include the Jordanian King Abdullah II, of Azerbaijan Israeli President Ilham Aliyev and staff member of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Abdullah has denied any inappropriateness, and Khan tweeted that his government would investigate each of the mentioned individuals and take appropriate action if wrongdoing is found.

While the purchases are legal under UK law, the latest revelations highlight the intricate and often anonymous financial practices used by wealthy individuals to avoid taxes that are far from the everyday experience of most UK people.

London in particular is a focal point for the rich and powerful as it is home to a sophisticated ecosystem of companies that can help, including creative wealth management firms, high-end lawyers, and long-established accounting firms.

The London property market has been struggling to shake its reputation for years central role in sp Like rich people around the world trying to hide and highlight their wealth, with plenty of prime real estate in the heart of the city owned by foreigners.

London has been one of the largest financial centers in the world also featured prominently in previous financial data leaks, including the 2016 Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers the following year.

For decades, UK authorities have taken a light-weight approach to regulation in order to attract foreign capital and talent .

Critics say this was a magnet for tax avoidance, which can be legal, as well as more criminal activity, including money laundering.

Duncan Hames, political director of campaign group Transparency International UK, said the revelations should serve as a « wake-up call » for the government to take long overdue measures to strengthen the UK’s defenses against tax avoidance and money laundering.

« This e leaks show that there is one system for corrupt elites with access to prime real estate and a luxurious lifestyle, and another for honest, hard-working people, « he said.

 » Once again, Britain’s role became as a trailblazer for global corruption and money laundering with the same loopholes that are being exploited to smuggle suspicious riches into the country, « he added.

Transparency International UK urges the government to address a loophole that enables companies in the UK’s offshore financial centers such as the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands to hold property in the country without those companies having to reveal the names of their real owners.

She also wants the government to crack down on professionals helping people with illegal wealth move and hiding their money in the UK; and the National Crime Agency Measure resource to prosecute those suspected of making their money through crime and corruption.

« I don’t think it’s a source of shame because our track record in this area is actually very strong is, « Sunak told BBC radio.

He referred to measures taken by the Conservative government over the past decade to improve transparency of who owns what and the exchange of data between tax authorities.

 » Like you from saw the papers, it’s a global problem, it has a global dimension and we need other countries to work with us to address this, but we are determined to do it, « he added.

Sunak also said there was « always more we can do » when asked about reports that half of all Russian money laundering is estimated to take place in the UK.

Opposition parties said the revelations, which also include questions about donations to the Conservative Party urgently needs to be implemented by the government.

« The tentacles of dark money revealed by the #PandoraPapers reach into the heart of British democracy, » said the Labor Party spokeswoman, Lisa Nandy, in a tweet.

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