The so-called Panama Papers, hundreds of leaked files the expose hidden financial holdings of powerful people, including prime ministers, parliamentarians, plutocrats and criminals, have thrust several prominent South Africans into the spotlight – including mining magnate Khulubuse Zuma and convicted Fidentia fraudster Graham Maddock.
The files form the basis of an investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIF), which reveals the hidden workings of a secretive industry that banks and lawyers use to hide the financial holdings and dealings of their powerful clients.
The Panama Papers expose the offshore holdings of 12 current and former world leaders.
Among the details are those revealing how associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin secretly shuffled as much as $2-billion through banks and shadow companies, according to the joint investigative project conducted by ICIJ, the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and more than 100 other news organisations around the globe.
The files – which total more than 11,5-million documents – also contain details about major scandals ranging from England’s 1983 gold heist, an unfolding political money laundering affair in Brazil and bribery allegations around FIFA.
The documents include nearly 40 years of data from inside Mossack Fonseca, a law firm based in Panama with branches in Hong Kong, Miami, Zurich and 35 other cities worldwide. In the first of six articles posted today, ICIJ and its partners detail the inner workings of the Mossack Fonseca firm, which is one of the world’s top creators of shell companies — corporate structures that can be used to hide ownership of assets.
This article details how, in the Fidentia case, Mossack Fonseca’s records show that Graham Maddock, one of the men jailed in the $60-million Fidentia insurance fraud, paid the firm $59 000 in 2005 and 2006 to create two sets of offshore companies, including one called Fidentia North America. The law firm’s records say it gave Maddock “the VIP service”.
Mossack Fonseca also created offshore structures for Steven Goodwin, a man that prosecutors later claimed had played an “instrumental role” in the Fidentia swindle.
Meanwhile, the Daily Maverick reports that the Panama Papers also refer to Clive Khulubuse Zuma as having connections with Caprikat Limited, one of two companies involved in a questionable 2010 acquisition of oil fields in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).