Pandora Papers: Ukraine leader seeks to justify offshore accounts

AL JAZEERA:

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office has sought to justify his use of offshore companies as protecting him against pro-Russian forces, following leaked revelations in the Pandora Papers.

A former comedian, Zelenskyy was elected president in 2019 on promises to fight corruption and reduce the influence of oligarchs in the ex-Soviet country.

But the files obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and published on Sunday claimed that Zelenskyy and his partners established a network of offshore companies back in 2012.

The Pandora Papers are based on documents leaked to the ICIJ and exposed the offshore dealings of kings, presidents and prime ministers, including Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.

According to its findings, two of the offshore companies belonging to Zelenskyy’s partners were used to buy three lavish properties in central London.

The report also found that Zelenskyy, just before he was elected, transferred his stake in one of the offshore companies to his top aide Serhiy Shefir – the target of a shooting attack last month.

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