Bulgarian companies and individuals were found in the Panama Papers data leak, but there were no records implicating Bulgarian politicians at this time, mass-circulation daily 24 Chasa reported on April 4 2016.
24 Chasa said that the files named at least 50 Bulgarian companies, six intermediary firms, 16 owners and 78 shareholders linked to offshore accounts in the Bahamas, Seychelles, Antila, Panama, Niue and British Virgin Islands tax havens.
The newspaper’s journalist Alexenia Dimitrova was the only Bulgarian reporter given access to the 11.5 million leaked files, obtained last year from an anonymous source by Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
Described by ICIJ as “likely the biggest leak of inside information in history”, it includes 2.6 terabytes of data on more than 214 000 offshore companies connected to people in more than 200 countries and territories. The data, which spans nearly 40 years worth of records, was leaked from Panama-based legal firm Mossack Fonseca, whom ICIJ names “one of the world’s top creators of shell companies”.
Although offshore companies are not illegal in themselves, they can be used for tax evasion and money-laundering.
ICIJ said that the analysis of the data showed 140 political figures from more than 50 countries were connected to offshore companies, including current and former heads of state, as well as relatives and associates of country leaders. The highest profile name on that list is Russian president Vladimir Putin, with Britain’s The Guardian reporting on “a network of secret offshore deals and vast loans worth $2bn has laid a trail to Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin.”
(Photo: Darren Deans/sxc.hu)