Some of the world’s most rich and famous have been named in the Pandora Papers, which is rocking the financial and political world after bringing to light how offshore companies have been used hide and accrue wealth.
For two years, a 600-strong team of reporters organised by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) have been pouring through the 11.9 million leaked files, finding and verifying stories which are being published this week.
The files, shared by 14 sources, are believed to be the biggest leak of their kind in history, and name more than 330 politicians from 90 countries as well as 100 billionaires.
The Guardian and BBC have led the UK’s investigation, which have named a number of high-profile politicians and world leaders.
Here the Mirror looks at some of the biggest stories so far.
Tony Blair saved Stamp Duty worth £312,000 on London office
Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie Blair are among those named in the papers, after they came to own a £6.5 million office in Marylebone which Mrs Blair uses for her firm Omina Strategy.
Normally, a commercial purchase of a £6.45m property would rack up £312,000 in Stamp Duty.
But the bill was not incurred because rather than the townhouse itself being sold, the British Virgin Islands-based firm which owned it – Romanstone International Limited – was bought by the the Blairs.
The pair have furiously denied wrongdoing after their financial arrangements emerged in the Pandora Papers.
The Blairs quickly shut down the offshore company that had owned the townhouse, and the townhouse is now owned by a UK company which Mr and Mrs Blair jointly own.
There is no suggestion any rules or laws were broken, although the sale highlights a loophole which has allowed wealthy property buyers to not pay a tax which ordinary Brits must pay.
A spokeswoman said: “The vendor was an offshore company. The Blairs had nothing whatsoever to do with the original company nor those behind it.
“The vendor sold the company not the property – again a decision the Blairs had nothing to with.
“Since the purchase was of a company no buyer would have had to pay UK stamp duty on that transaction.
“However, because the Blairs then repatriated the company and brought it onshore, they are liable for capital gains and other taxes on the resale of the property which will significantly exceed any stamp duty.
“For the record, the Blairs pay full tax on all their earnings. And have never used offshore schemes either to hide transactions or avoid tax.”
King of Jordan amassed £70million property empire across UK and US
Jordan’s King Abdullah, a close ally of the United States, was alleged to have used offshore accounts to spend more than $100 million on luxury homes in the United Kingdom and the United States.
The nation is currently the recipient of a substantial amount of international aid, including from the US and UK, although lawyers for the king said he used his personal wealth to buy 15 homes in the two nations since he assumed power in 1999.
It also comes as he faced unrest at home over policies of austerity measures and tax rises, with protests taking place.
The leak comes a year after Jordinian authorities announced a crackdown on money being sent abroad by its citizens.
DLA Piper, a London law office representing Abdullah, told the consortium of media outlets that he had “not at any point misused public monies or made any use whatsoever of the proceeds of aid or assistance intended for public use.”
The royal palace has said King Abdullah’s ownership of the properties was not a secret, but concerns over privacy and security were behind the reason for not disclosing them.
Major Conservative Party donor “involved in one of Europe’s biggest corruption scandals”
A major Conservative Party donor is among those named in the leak.
Mohamed Amersi, 61, has given nearly £525,000 to the party since 2018, but the papers allege he was involved in one of Europe’s biggest corruption scandals.
The corporate lawyer is alleged to have worked on a series of controversial dealings for Swedish telecoms company Telia which was later fined $965m (£700m) in a prosecution in the US.
Mr Amersi reportedly advised Telia on a £162m deal with the daughter of Uzbekistan’s former ruler Islam Karimov – a payment which US authorities later described as a “bribe”.
Telia later accepted that the money given to Gulnara Karimova was a “corrupt payment”.
Mr Amersi’s lawyers have denied he “knowingly” helped facilitate any corrupt payments and had “no reason” to believe the money given to Ms Karimova would be a bribe.
They added that the plans for a deal were already in place two years before he became involved.
They said underlying arrangements for the deal were in place two years before his involvement.
The leak comes as the Conservative Party gather in Manchester for their party conference, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak pledging to scour the papers for evidence of tax avoidance.
Mr Sunak, who is very wealthy, has denied ever benefitting from an offshore arrangement.
He told Sky News: “No. I haven. I’ve seen these things overnight … and of course HMRC will look through those to see if there’s anything we can learn.”
Shakira “used offshoreentities in the British Virgin Islands to conceal assets”
The Hips Don’t Lie singer is accused in the papers of setting up offshore entities in the British Virgin Islands.
The 44-year-old’s lawyers have said she declared the offshore companies, and said their existence did not provide tax advantages.
Shakira is already in a legal dispute with the Spanish government, which has accused her of failing to pay taxes in Spain in the years 2012, 2013 and 2014.
The singer has said during that time she was not a resident in Spain and was living in the Bahamas.
In July, a Spanish judge ruled there was “sufficient evidence” to try her for evading more than £12million in taxes.
Azerbaijan’s ruling Aliyev family “secretly gathered UK property”
The Azerbaijan ruling Aliyev family have been accused of secretly gathering UK property using offshore bank accounts.
The files show how the family – long accused of corruption in the European nation – bought 17 properties, including an office blockin 2009 for £33million.
However, one month later was transferred to their 11-year-old son Heydar Aliyev.
The research also revealed how another office block owned by the family nearby was sold to the Crown Estate for £66m in 2018.
The Crown Estate said it carried out the checks required in law at the time of purchase but is now looking into the matter
The Guardian reported the property acted as a “front” for family of Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev whose record has long been criticised by anti-corruption campaigners.
A spokesman for the Crown Estate said: “Before our purchase of 56-60 Conduit Street, we conducted checks including those required by UK law.
“At the time we did not establish any reason why the transaction should not proceed. Given the potential concerns raised, we are looking into the matter.”
Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta under pressure to explain how relatives amassed $30million in offshore wealth
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is among the world leaders named in the papers.
He and six of his relatives have gathered $30million (£22million) in offshore wealth , including property in London, the papers revealed.
Kenyatta has long portrayed himself as an enemy to corruption, and in 2018 told he BBC: “Every public servant’s assets must be declared publicly so that people can question and ask: what is legitimate?”
AFP via Getty Images)
Putin linked to secret assets in Monaco
The leak links Russian President Vladimir Putin to secret assets in Monaco, including an exclusive block underneath the Monte Carlo Casino, bought in 2003 for £3.1m, for his alleged lover, reports the Guardian.
The official purchaser was listed as Brockville Development Ltd, an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands, but the papers reveal the benefactor was Svetlana Krivonogikh.
The then-28-year-old came from humble beginnings but appears to have acquired Putin as a financial benefactor in the 1990s.
She is said to have met him while he was St Petersburg’s deputy mayor and become his lover, allegedly giving birth to his daughter the same year the Monaco apartment was bought.
But according to the Pandora papers, some of Putin’s inner circle also used Monaco as a discreet hub for their financial affairs, with Russian influence in the state growing.