Panama Papers: Billionaire Soros Linked to Secretive Offshore Arms Trade
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Billionaire George Soros, who has spent millions of dollars financing Democrats and left-wing causes, used a controversial Panamanian law firm to establish a web of offshore investment partnerships that operate around the world and out of the scrutiny of US regulators.
The so-called Panama Papers, a trove of 11.5 million financial documents tracing the Mossack Fonseca law firm’s efforts to help politicians, celebrities and criminals shield their money from taxes, contain links to Soros, who funds the journalism group that is disseminating the information. So far, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has been silent on its benefactor’s ties to the law firm.
Three offshore investment vehicles controlled by Soros are catalogued in the Panama Papers. Soros Finance, Inc. was incorporated in Panama; Soros Holdings Limited was set up in the British Virgin Islands and a limited partnership called Soros Capital was created in Bermuda.
The laws of Panama, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands and a score of “tax havens” allow foreign firms to hide ownership of cash, real estate and other assets from securities regulators and tax collectors in the countries where they are physically headquartered.
On May 9, client data stolen from the Mossack Fonseca law firm in Panama was published online by the ICIJ as part of its Offshore Leaks database. The searchable database contains a portion of the offshore financial records given to the journalists by anonymous whistle-blowers since 2013; it does not include leaked emails and other explanatory data that ICIJ reporters use to write about the offshore financial holdings of newsworthy individuals, Fox News reported.
News stories about offshore bank accounts revealed by the Panama Papers brought down Iceland’s prime minister last month. Heads of state, Hollywood stars, heiresses, arms dealers and drug lords who established secret offshore companies and bank accounts are outed almost daily by the ICIJ. Incorporating a business offshore is not illegal, but President Obama has called for the tax loophole to be sealed shut, saying everyone should “pay their fair share.”
Soros, 86, is worth an estimated $25 billion. His Open Society Institute is one of ICIJ’s main funders, granting it $1.5 million last year. The Panama Papers data reveals only the tip of Soros' offshore iceberg, the Quantum Group of Funds. The ICIJ’s leader, journalist Gerard Ryle, said he had not noticed Soros’ companies in the Offshore Leaks database until FoxNews.com called the matter to his attention.