King Abdullah II of Jordan and Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates are among the world leaders identified in the so-called Pandora Papers as having hidden secret sources of wealth. The Pandora Papers are millions of documents on a 2.94 terabyte database from offshore financial firms that involve some 330 politicians from over 90 countries. The Pandora Papers investigation is the world’s largest-ever journalistic collaboration, with over 600 journalists from 117 countries led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
The financial documents show that Abdullah owns 14 luxury homes in the United States and the United Kingdom worth more than $106 million, and at least 36 front companies in offshore tax havens. Sheikh Mohammed is, according to the documents, a shareholder of three companies registered in the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands via an Emirati company partly owned by his investing conglomerate Dubai Holding.
Former Jerusalem mayor and current lawmaker from the Likud party, Nir Barkat, also appears on the list, for holding at least $700 million in shares in a large company that registered in an offshore tax haven managed by his brother.
Other world leaders on the list include Czech Republic Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bun Hamad Al Thani, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Morocco’s Princess Lalla Hasnaa and former Prime Minister of Bahrain Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa.
Offshore accounts and corporations are not in and of themselves illegal, though holding them may be illegal in some countries.