What are the Pandora Papers?
The Pandora Papers is the moniker given to the leaked 11.9 million documents belonging to 14 shell companies. These companies were situated in offshore tax havens; the papers contained details of over 29,000 companies and trusts spanning the globe, from Singapore to Belize. The names of hundreds of celebrities, politicians and affluent individuals have come up in these documents. The collective wealth hidden within these companies amounts to trillions of dollars.
The Pandora Papers were made public by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in 2021. The organization is famed for releasing the Panama Papers, which resulted in fines, penalties and taxation of over $550 million. The Panama Papers were also integral in reforming and strengthening laws related to business ownership information. The Pandora Papers resulted from a two-year investigation into the leaked documents and information. This is by no means a small operation, consisting of 600 journalists and 150 media houses.
Let’s examine why the Pandora Papers are so significant and how they impact the world of business around us. This will also give insights into how important a thorough verification process is.
Why Should Everyone Know About the Pandora Papers?
The simple answer is guilt through association, albeit inadvertently. Any business or individual that has had some financial transaction or provided services to individuals involved in the Pandora Papers is potentially at risk.
Here is a small part of the very long list of individuals who are allegedly implicated in the Pandora Papers:
1. The Qatari Royal Family
2. The current ruling family of Azerbaijan
3. The President of Kenya
4. Elton John
6. Jackie Chan
7. King Abdullah of Jordan
8. And numerous others
Such a vast, complex and discreet financial network was exploited by individuals who obtained such massive funds through less-than-legal means in their home nations. This is why companies, businesses, financial institutions, agents, and anyone involved in any financial transaction must enhance the quality of screening and vetting. This screening is not limited to politically-exposed persons (PEPs) but should also include any others that may have some indirect link to such individuals.
Again, why? Well, to be able to handle such vast amounts of money in such a complex manner, these people will need the assistance of professional financial advisors, experts and even institutions; they may even be involved in the process without knowing.
The Fine Line Between Illegal and Immoral
Some have argued that many of the actions outlined in the Pandora Papers are unethical, taboo, and not necessarily illegal. Such money laundering is conducted on such a corporate scale that it far exceeds the world of organized crime.
What are the likely implications of the Pandora Papers?
The implications in some cases were harsh; the President of Chile was impeached owing to his alleged involvement. Lawmakers in the US have put strict conditions around the movement of foreign funds. Art dealers, trusts, lawyers, and anyone else must investigate their foreign funders. A law has been proposed, the Enablers Act, which has significantly reformed money laundering legislation.
Looking forward, the 6AMLD or Sixth Anti-Money Laundering Directive from the EU drives home the consequences for those connected or doing business with sanctioned individuals, such as those involved in criminal activity, terrorist funding and money laundering.
The 6AMLD opines that individuals, institutions or businesses associated with those involved in these activities could face serious criminal prosecution, even if they claim they had no idea.
What is the key takeaway?
Organizations and businesses of all sizes must find better ways to protect themselves. The solution is to have a more thorough, high-quality and in-depth verification and vetting process before onboarding. Yes, there are still some limitations; however, with some of the latest and most advanced tools, verification allows companies thicker insulation against being involved with individuals involved in crime or crime-adjacent activities.
Hyperverge offers ID verification across 195 countries within just 60 seconds; video document verification ensures that the customer onboarding process is clear, easy, and most importantly, authentic. Take a look at Hyperverge’s ID solutions here.
Who is credited with leaking the Pandora papers?
ICIJ (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists) is credited with publishing the Pandora Papers, however, the original source is still labeled John Doe, which means Unknown.
Who all are mentioned in the Pandora papers?
Hundreds of politicians, world leaders, celebrities, and others were ousted in the Pandora papers. Here are some: 1. Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan 2. Sebastián Piñera, President of Chile 3. Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of the Congo 4. Nicos Anastasiades, President of Cyprus 5. Luis Abinader, President of the Dominican Republic 6. Guillermo Lasso, President of Ecuador 7. Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of Gabon
How much money was hidden within the Pandora papers?
CBS reports that up to $7 trillion worth of stolen assets and fraudulently obtained money were there in the Pandora papers.