Pandora Papers: Secret wealth and dealings of world leaders exposed


Millions of documents have revealed offshore deals and assets of more than 100 billionaires, 30 world leaders and 300 public officials.


They reveal the King of Jordan secretly amassed £70m of UK and US property.The leak also links Russian President Vladimir Putin to secret assets in Monaco, and shows the Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis - who is up for reelection later this week - failed to declare an offshore investment company used to purchase two villas for £12m in the south of France.


They also show how ex-UK PM Tony Blair and his wife saved £312,000 in stamp duty when they bought a London office.

Cherie and Tony Blair

BBC Panorama in a joint investigation with the Guardian and the other media partners have had access to nearly 12 million documents and files from 14 financial services. Known as the Pandora papers, the cache includes 11.9m files from companies hired by wealthy clients to create offshore structures and trusts in tax havens such as Panama, Dubai, Monaco, Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.


It is the latest in a string of leaks over the past seven years, following the FinCen Files, the Paradise Papers, the Panama Papers and LuxLeaks.


The leaked data also reveals a string of celebrities, rock stars and business leaders. Many use shell companies to hold luxury items such as property and yachts, as well as incognito bank accounts. There is even art ranging from looted Cambodian antiquities to paintings by Picasso and murals by Banksy.


Some figures are facing allegations of corruption, money laundering and global tax avoidance.


But one of the biggest revelations is how prominent and wealthy people have been legally setting up companies to secretly buy property in the UK.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev

The Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his family, who have been accused of looting their own country, are at the forefront of the scandal.


The investigation found the Aliyevs and their close associates have secretly been involved in property deals in the UK worth more than £400m.


The revelations could prove embarrassing for the UK government, as the Aliyevs appear to have made a £31m profit after selling one of their London properties to the Crown Estate - the Queen's property empire that is managed by The Treasury and raises cash for the nation.


Further documents reveal that former prime minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie avoided paying stamp duty on one of their properties.


There is no suggestion in the Pandora Papers that the Blair's were hiding their wealth. However, documents show why stamp duty was not payable when the couple bought a £6.45m property.


The former Labour prime minister and his barrister wife Cherie acquired the building in Marylebone, central London, in July 2017 by buying the offshore company that owned it.


It is legal to acquire properties in the UK in this way and stamp duty does not have to be paid - but Mr Blair has previously been critical of tax loopholes.


The townhouse in Marylebone, central London, is now home to Mrs Blair's legal consultancy, which advises governments around the world, as well as her foundation for women.


Meanwhile, Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta and six members of his family secretly owned a network of offshore companies. They have been linked to 11 firms - one of which was valued as holding assets of $30m.