16,300 shell companies were incorporated through the firm’s HK and China offices
Beijing: Nearly a third of the business of the law firm at the centre of the Panama Papers scandal came from its offices in Hong Kong and China, reports said yesterday, with the Asian giant assailed by corruption and capital flight.
The building (centre) where the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca has an office in Shanghai. Pic/AFP
More than 16,300 of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca’s active shell companies were incorporated through its Hong Kong and China offices, 29 per cent of the worldwide total, according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The investigation found that relatives of at least eight current or former members of China’s Politburo Standing Committee, the ruling party’s most powerful body, have been implicated in the use of offshore companies.
President Xi Jinping’s brother-in-law and family members of two current members of the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC), Zhang Gaoli and Liu Yunshan, have offshore holdings, the ICIJ reported. Deng Jiagui, the husband of Xi’s sister, was previously a shareholder in three companies, reports said. The companies were closed before Xi took power in 2012. Relatives of past PSC members Jia Qinglin, once the fourth-ranked leader in China, Li Peng, Hu Yaobang, ex vice-president Zeng Qinghong, and Tian Jiyun were named by The Guardian.
The documents also named movie star Jackie Chan, billionaire heiress Kelly Zong Fuli, and shopping mall magnate Shen Guojun.
Iceland appoints new PM
The Iceland government has appointed former agriculture and fisheries minister, Sigurdur Ingi as its new prime minister and pledged to hold early parliamentary elections before the end of this year. The move on Wednesday came after former prime minister and ruling Progressive Party (PP) chairman Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson stepped down in the wake of the leaked Panama Papers.
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