The Pandora Papers leak is the biggest journalism partnership in history, according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) – even larger than the 2016 Panama Papers investigation, which led to the fall of world leaders, police raids and financial law reforms.
According to ICIJ, the Pandora Papers investigation reveals the inner workings of a shadow economy that benefits the world’s wealthiest people – “at the expense of everyone else.” South African investigative journalism non-profit newsroom, AmaBhungane, zeroed in on Zimbabwean tycoon Billy Rautenbach’s offshore dealings, which were exposed by the leak.
ICIJ said the millions of leaked documents uncovered the financial secrets of 35 current and former world leaders, including the King of Jordan, Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, Russian president Vladimir Putin and the former Prime Minister of England Tony Blair.
More than 330 politicians and public officials in 91 countries and territories are also exposed alongside a “global lineup of fugitives, con artists and murderers.”
Rautenbach, who is known as one of Zimbabwe’s richest men, is a Zanu-PF ally with controversial ties to the late Robert Mugabe, which eventually led to him being sanctioned by the United States and European Union (EU). He was also on the run from South Africa, between 1999 and 2009, after he fled the country after being slapped with corruption and customs tax fraud charges, according to AmaBhungane.
Those charges eventually went away after his company, S.A. Botswana Hauliers (SABOT) paid a fine of R40 million. Rautenbach, however, never admitted any personal liability and the charges against him were withdrawn after the settlement was paid in 2009.
Source: The Southern African