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4th October 2021, 20:38

Three Gibraltar-registered companies among those identified in Pandora Papers leak

An International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has leaked millions of documents exposing the offshore companies used by politicians and wealthy individuals around the globe to hide assets and avoid paying tax.

The “Pandora Papers” identify 330 politicians and 130 billionaires in 117 countries – with Gibraltar named in connection with three companies linked to reports of bribery and corruption.

Gibraltar registered company Takilant Limited was under the control of Gulnara Karimova, the Daughter of the President of Uzbekistan, when it received a payment of USD220 million in 2010

The money was the result of a controversial deal with a Swedish telecoms company called Telia, and was engineered by Conservative Party donor Mohamed Amersi. The US authorities described the payment as a ‘bribe’ with the Swiss Company subsequently fined £700 million. Takilant was ordered to forfeit USD135 million.

Mohamed Amersi has reportedly donated over half a million pounds to the conservative party since 2018 and has been at the centre of a “cash for access” row.

Two other Gibraltar companies named in the Pandora Papers are linked to the former Minister of Mauritania, Mohamed Abdellahi Ould Yaha

MTO Oil and Bunkering Limited was set up in September 2017, and Oil and Gas Services MSGBC in February 2018, by SFM Corporate Services in Dubai. The companies are registered at Suite 925 A, Block B, Europort.

Mr Abdellahi Ould Yaha also instructed SFM to set up companies in the Canary Islands. He was investigated on suspicion of corruption by the Mauritanian authorities but the case was closed after the money was repaid.

Loopholes in the law allow people to legally avoid paying some taxes by moving their money or setting up companies in tax havens, but it is often seen as unethical.  Inclusion in the Pandora Papers therefore is not necessarily an indication of wrongdoing.