Offshore companies connected to 44 of Africa’s 54 countries appear in the Panama Papers leak, according to new research.
More than 1,400 companies in the files of the offshore law firm Mossack Fonseca have names that indicate mining or resource extraction interests – raising fresh concerns about how tax havens can be used to exploit the natural wealth of the world’s poorest continent.
The files contain at least 37 offshore companies with operations in Africa that have been named in legal proceedings or criticised by national or international agencies.
The research was published on Monday by African partners of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which coordinated the initial investigation into the offshore law firm’s leaked files.
Across Africa, 18 media organisations have published their findings – including the African Network of Centers for Investigative Reporting,The Namibian and Verdade in Mozambique.
The revelations include:
- Twelve of 17 companies named by Italian prosecutors as being connected to a middleman in an alleged bribery scheme surrounding an Algerian oil and gas deal appear in the files, including one company described as a “crossroads of illicit financial flows”.
- Mossack Fonseca allegedly helped process a $30m loan for a client in Nigeria despite press reports that he had been “on the run” over potentially criminal petroleum deals.
- At least 30 wildlife safari companies in Africa are identified as being connected to offshore companies, mostly incorporated in the British Virgin Islands.
Mossack Fonseca told the ICIJ in response to the recent findings that it follows “both the letter and spirit of the law.”
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