Millions of leaked documents and the biggest journalism partnership in history have uncovered financial secrets of prominent names and people in positions in power.
35 current and former world leaders, over 330 politicians and public officials in 91 countries and territories, and a global lineup of fugitives, con artists and murderers were exposed, according to reports.
Amongst those were several known Malaysians, exposed to be owners of offshore companies or trusts.
Pandora Papers is an anonymous dump, filled with 2.94 terabytes of confidential financial files held privy to the Investigative Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
The dump has over 11.9 million documents and records from 14 offshore service providers that manage shell companies and trusts in tax havens all around the world.
It has been reported that Singapore is an infamous gateway for the rich and powerful of Malaysia to move their assets, and over 10,000 documents leaked were linked to Malaysian individuals.
Note that having offshore entities is not illegal, but in some situations the act has been linked to tax evasion incidents. Industry experts mentions that offshore companies play a role in legitimate tax “optimisation.”
This is the process of making choices that lead to the best outcome for current and future tax liability. It reduces or eliminates tax liabilities.
In a report by Malaysiakini, a list of Malaysians in the Pandora Papers have been drawn up along with their statements.
Tengku Zafrul Aziz, Finance Minister first appeared on ICIJ in 2013 and was named director of Capital Investment Bank (Labuan) Limited.
His involvement points to the offshore trust RZA International Corporation which his uncle and a cabinet minister shared. It was de-registered as no investments were made.
It was reported by Malaysiakini that he is no longer the director and did not comment when asked about his resignation. However, he persisted that the trust was not used for any illegal activities.
Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, UMNO president incorporated a firm called Breedon Limited in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) in September 1996, the same time when Zahid won the position of the UMNO Youth chief.
In 1999, the company had a share capital of US$50,000, but the nature of the business was not revealed. Documents showed the company had been “struck off” for being dormant several years after incorporation.
There is no indication of what the business was set up for, while companies with similar names registered in Malaysia are unrelated to Zahid.
The leak included Yamani Hafez Musa, Deputy Finance Minister and Bersatu’s Sipitang MP, who’s father had taken over as sole director of Great Ocean Consultants in BVI.
The company was sold entirely to Mau Kam Wai in 2016 and documents showed that the company held US$310,000 in a Deutsche Bank account before it was transferred.
Larry Low Hock Ping and Goh Gaik Ewe, parents of the fugitive businessperson Jho Low, are linked to Coswell Corporation and Strategic Equities Limited as sole shareholders.
As recent as 2017, Low and Goh were still listed as clients of Trident Trust despite links to the 1MDB scandal.
Low and his wife left Malaysia in 2018, and their current whereabouts are unknown.
These are only a few of the Malaysians linked in the unprecedented leak, alongside other world leaders and billionaires.
For more details, check out the full list here.