There was the biggest leak in history related to the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.
The documents are available to the international media. There are mentioned names of politics, billionaires, businessmen all over the world using offshore companies for tax evasion. Journalistic investigation, already known as #PanamaPapers, mentions also some Moldavians.
The Rise Moldova investigation: former Prime Minister of Moldova Ion Sturza owns some offshore companies
The RISE Moldova journalists claims that Ion Sturza was one of Moldovans involved in #PanamaPapers scandal. According to the investigation, Sturza, together with the deceased Romanian billionaire Dinu Patriciu, as well as the director of the Moscow branch of Rompetrol Konstanstin Lutsenko, were clients of the Mossack Fonseca.
Sturza and Lutsenko were subordinate to Dinu Patriciu in the Rompetrol structures. A few months after the opening of the Moscow branch of the Rompetrol in August 2005, all three became business partners in an offshore company Markside Holdings Limited. This company was registered in the British Virgin Islands, known as a "tax paradise", as the islands government closed access to all the information about registered companies.
After seven years of economic activity, the company was liquidated. The decision was taken at a shareholders meeting in 2012, where Sturza was elected as secretary of the meeting and signed the decision on liquidation papers.
According to the documents obtained by RISE Moldova, Sturza was also a business partner of Constantine Lutsenko in another company registered in the British Virgin Islands, known as the Chandler Group Holdings company.
Seven months after the foundation, Sturza was eliminated from the number of shareholders. He gave all his shares to the Lutsenko company, which owned the majority stake. In 2014 there were changes among the shareholders and shareholdings were divided between the three offshore companies. One of them was registered in Panama, and the other two – in the British Virgin Islands.
Ion Sturza does not consider himself guilty
Ion Sturza does not deny that he participated in the foundation of a number of offshore companies. Sturza claims that this "business" is perfectly legal: "The main reason for using the offshore companies is a benefit associated with the optimization of taxation and laws on the protection of property, privacy, confidentiality of proprietary information, and access to the global financial and investment markets.
Therefore, such actions are not illegal. This legal form is used by all the companies, banks, investment funds, as well as individuals to create companies in certain areas. Such jurisdiction is available at the EU, Amsterdam or the British Virgin Islands.
It is only important to include such companies in the property declaration if you are a politician, MP, member of the government or other official performing the functions.
Personally, I (not being at that time in the public service!) was involved in the creation of a large number of companies in offshore zones. What’s important is to respect the conditions I told above"- wrote Ion Sturza on his Facebook page.
22 Moldovan citizens were mentioned in the #PanamaPapers investigation
According to the site deschide.md, 22 citizens of the Republic of Moldova are part of the actual beneficiaries of 214 000 offshore companies registered in 21 “tax paradises”.
Source: publika.md (Anatol Stati)
In the documents appear the names of billionaire Anatol Stati and millionaire Alexander Babakov. The last was born in Chisinau, activated as a deputy of the State Duma in Moscow. He owns some objects of luxury real estate in Paris, London, and Russian Federation.
The National Anticorruption Center will check the mentioned Moldovan citizens on the fact of tax evasion
The National Anticorruption Center will check all the citizens of Republic of Moldova, mentioned in the documents , for the illegal illicit enrichment by using offshore companies.
Investigators will also check them for participation in the illegal money laundering schemes.
The prosecutors of the National Anticorruption Center refused to answer the deschide.md journalists' questions about potential connection between any offshore companies with Moldovan beneficiaries listed in the press and the facts of bank fraud.
The global scandal caused by #PanamaPapers
140 top leaders from 50 countries, including 12 current and former presidents, are listed among those who hid their wealth in “tax paradises” with the help of offshore companies. All of those companies were created and managed by Mossack Fonseca.
The list includes members of closest associates of Vladimir Putin and also: Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gyunnlёygsson, Saudi King Salman, President of Argentina Mauricio Macri, the deceased father of British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Among the celebrities who have used “tax paradises” also figures the footballer Lionel Messi and former UEFA president Michel Platini.
#PanamaPapers caused many scandals. For example, thousands of people in Iceland protest against the Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gyunnlёygsson, who is involved in the #PanamaPapers scandal. Journalists have found that he owns some assets in the “tax paradises”. This fact and protests may lead to his removal from PM, writes AFP.
On Sunday, April 3 was released a huge leak of information from the Mossack Fonsec internal database. More than 11 million documents about a global network for tax evasion and money laundering were disclosed.