By Stelios Orphanides
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) said that up to 1,061 individuals or companies in Cyprus have acted as “officers” or “master clients” and are linked to up to 2,761 offshore companies.
The individuals and companies are based at up to 896 addresses in Cyprus, the ICIJ said on its offshoreleaks.icij.org website on Monday where it published the remaining database containing information leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, widely known as the Panama Papers.
Mossack Fonseca has allegedly helped companies, politicians, criminals and celebrities set up offshore companies to dodge taxes or launder money, the ICIJ said more than a month ago when it released thousands of financial records of world personalities. The main revelations concerned Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, the Iceland’s prime minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson who subsequently resigned, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko and the father of British premier David Cameron. Both Putin and Poroshenko were linked to Cyprus.
The references to Cypriot individuals, companies and addresses may most likely apply to a smaller number as stated above as the database includes duplications and names or addresses transliterated into English in several variants. In addition, “typos and misspellings are frequent in the original databases,” ICIJ said, adding that the data released on Monday, cover a period of around 30 years until 2010.
According to the ICIJ glossary, officers and master clients are persons or companies playing a role in an offshore company or acting as an intermediary or a go-between to help set up such a company. Names of lawyers, economists, accountants, law firms, accounting companies are all listed. They include the name of Andreas Georghadjis & Co, the law firm of the estranged husband of Central Bank of Cyprus Chrystalla Georghadji. The leaked files offer no further details explaining why the law firm was included.
Lawyer Andreas Georghadji was unavailable for a comment.
The mere reference to any person or company in the Panama Papers does not imply their involvement in illegal activities while the setup or operation of an offshore company is not illegal.