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Tuesday, 5 April 2016

#PanamaPapers: Saraki, Ibori, others in newly discovered secret offshore assets scam

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki’s family and a former governor of Delta State, James Ibori, were among some prominent Africans named in a newly discovered secret offshore assets scam released by a German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The German newspaper on Monday  released the Panama Papers, the biggest leak in the history of data journalism, publishing online 11.5 million documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which showed how world leaders, celebrities, athletes, FIFA officials and criminals hid money using anonymous shell corporations across the world.

The Panamanian law firm, regarded as one of the world’s most secretive companies, according to the documents, has helped clients launder money, dodge sanctions and evade tax.

The data was obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung <> and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with over 100 other media partners in 82 countries.

Newsweek quoting the report disclosed that Ibori was linked to four offshore companies including Stanhope Investments, which he allegedly used to open a Swiss bank account. The account, it added, was used by Ibori to channel funds for the purchase of a $20m private jet.

Ibori was governor between 1999 and 2007. He was convicted in 2012 for fraud totalling nearly £50m  by a London court and is currently serving a 13-year prison sentence in the UK

It was also alleged that about four assets belonging to the Saraki family were tucked away in secret offshore territories.

The assets were allegedly not part of the ones declared by the Senate President nor his wife, Toyin when Saraki became the governor of Kwara State and after he was sworn in as the nation’s number three citizen.

Quoting the report, Premium Times said the undeclared assets by Saraki include Girol Properties Ltd., Sandon Development Limited, and Landfield International Developments Ltd.

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