Tuesday, April 05, 2016

The Panama Papers are super awkward for Beijing

By Emily Rauhala, April 4, Washington Post

The "Panama Papers" consist of 11.5 million documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca. The papers apparently implicate a number of high-profile global figures in potentially illegal financial activities. (The Washington Post)

The Panama Papers, a massive report that claims to document shady business dealings by a who’s who of the global elite, landed in China on a national holiday, presenting the authorities with an interesting, probably vexing, question: how to scrub the Web of the juicy-but-as-yet-unconfirmed disclosures about politically connected Chinese?

The findings -- the result of a year-long collaboration between a German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and more than 100 media outlets -- set out to expose “a cast of characters who use offshore companies to facilitate bribery, arms deals, tax evasion and drug trafficking."

That includes, by ICIJ’s count, dirt on 140 political figures, including 12 current or former heads of state. It also names the family members of eight current or former members of China’s politburo, according to the Guardian’s tally.

One of the people mentioned in the report is Deng Jiagui, the brother-in-law of China’s current president, Xi Jinping. Another is Li Xiaolin, the tycoon daughter of China’s former premier, Li Peng. It lists Hong Kong as a source of key “active intermediaries” in the secretive work.

(More here.)

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