NEWS » Around 800 Italians named in Panama Papers Offshore Tax furore

Around 800 Italians named in Panama Papers Offshore Tax furore

About 800 Italians were named in the Panama Papers, the documents showing the names of companies and thousands of people implicated in secretive offshore tax regimes. This unprecedented leak of 11.5m files from the database of the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca involved 143 politicians and Twelve national leaders, politicians' family members and close associates from around the world known to have been using offshore tax havens.

Having an offshore account is not illegal, but such accounts are often linked to tax evasion and other illegal activities. The documents showed that banks, law firms and other offshore players have often failed to follow legal requirements to make sure their clients were not involved in criminal enterprises, tax dodging, or political corruption. In some cases the files showed that offshore middlemen protected themselves and their clients by concealing suspect transactions or manipulating official records.

 

China and Russia top the list for the number of people listed in the Panama papers.

 

According to a report of “L’Espresso”, which participated in the year-long investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the Italians named in the documents include, among many others, the ex-Ferrari president Luca Cordero di Montezemolo and the former racing driver Jarno Trulli. Also Unicredit and UBI Bank were named. Both of the banks, Montezemolo and Trulli denied any wrongdoing.

TV presenter Barbara D'Urso and the famous actor Carlo Verdone were also named together with Emanuela Barilla, shareholder, together with her brothers, of the Barilla food brand. The manager of the world pharma industry group Stefano Passina was also in the list.

Additionally, Sports Image International, an offshore company established in 1989, controlled by Silvio Berlusconi was nominated.

Finally, in the documents published so far, there is Struie, the company created in the British Virgin Islands, defined as a safe used by the leader of “Forza Italia” party and Flavio Briatore. Their investments were possible thanks to the lawyer David Mills, creator of the offshore system for 775 million Euros on behalf of the head of Fininvest. The English professional, also in contact with Mossack Fonseca, used Struie as a smokescreen to hide the origin of the  600,000 $ paid to him secretly by Berlusconi in 1997-98 as compensation for his false testimony in the Milan processes for the black funds of Fininvest, as documented by the final judgements.

Giulia Lombardo

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