COLOMBIA: Paradise Papers Show Offshore Firms Linked To Juan Manuel Santos

(Agencia CMA Latam) - Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos was linked to two companies established in tax havens, according to the Paradise Papers, a global initiative developed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism (ICIJ) aimed at revealing the offshore activities of some of the world's most powerful people and companies.

The Colombian president is among the 127 international leaders linked to companies in tax havens. Besides Santos, the ICIJ revealed offshore activities of global leaders such as the queens Elizabeth II of England and Noor of Jordan,former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. President Donald Trump's aide Jared Kushner, Brazilian ministers Henrique Meirelles and Blairo Maggi, and artists such as Bono and Madonna, among others.

Santos is mentioned as the director of two offshore companies, which are firms established in a country where they do not perform any economic activity.
According to information released Sunday by the ICIJ, the firms related to the Colombian president are based in Barbados, considered a Caribbean tax haven.

In one of the firms, Nova Holding Company, Santos appears as director in 2000, the year in which he served as finance minister during the government of the then-President Andrés Pastrana. The report also notes that Santos shows up as a director of Global Tuition & Education Insurance Corp, an insurance company exempt from taxes.

Regarding the last company, Santos said in a statement that he never invested "a single peso in the company nor was a shareholder," adding that his position on the company's board of directors was unpaid.

The ICIJ and 95 media partners explored 13.4 million leaked files from a combination of leaks from offshore law firms and the company registries in some of the world's most secretive countries, said the consortium in its website.

The files were initially obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared with ICIJ. More than 380 journalists from 67 countries analyzed 1.4 terabytes of information during a year.

"The Paradise Papers documents include nearly 7 million loan agreements, financial statements, emails, trust deeds and other paperwork over nearly 50 years from inside Appleby, a prestigious offshore law firm with offices in Bermuda and beyond," said the ICIJ. The leaked documents include files from the smaller, family-owned trust company, Asiaciti, and from company registries in 19 secrecy jurisdictions.

by Agencia CMA Latam

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