Arab media partners for Panama Papers

Published April 4th, 2016 - 04:14 GMT
A massive data leak has revealed the tax secrets of the rich and powerful - but has media in the Middle East played a part in the investigation? (AFP / Eduardo Grimaldo)
A massive data leak has revealed the tax secrets of the rich and powerful - but has media in the Middle East played a part in the investigation? (AFP / Eduardo Grimaldo)

The financial secrets of the world’s rich and powerful have been revealed in a massive leak of information from an offshore law firm today.

The Panama Papers, leaked from offshore firm Mossack Fonseca, show how influential people – including 12 heads of state – have used shell companies to avoid tax, launder money and dodge sanctions. Those implicated through family or associate’s involvement in offshore accounts include former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Bashar al-Assad, and Libya’s late leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The investigation, which lasted a year, was led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which worked with more than 100 partners who had access to the information and analysed the data that was released. News organisations from the Arab world also participated in the investigation – although to a relatively limited degree.

Only six of the participating organisations were based in the Middle East. They were Alalam Aljadeed, in Iraq; Haaretz, in Israel; Amman Net, in Jordan; Rozana FM, a Syrian Radio Station; and Al Nahar TV, in Egypt. Of those organisation only a few released original investigative reporting today.

In Jordan Amman Net released a report, based on the leaked information, that revealed former Prime Minister Nader Dahabi supported businessman Khaled Shaheen in a tender for the expansion of an oil refinery in the Kingdom. The report also claimed a conflict of interest between Shaheen and Akram Abu Hamdan, another businessperson.

Haaretz revealed that 600 Israeli companies and 850 Israeli shareholders were implicated in the leak.

 

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