Two former Hong Kong leaders named in Pandora Papers leak

Two former leaders of Hong Kong have been named within the Pandora Papers leak, probably the most intensive international information drop detailing secretive monetary dealings by the world’s wealthiest people who goal to hide their belongings.

Leung Chun-ying, or CY Leung, reportedly didn’t declare his revenue from the sale of shares of a Japanese firm whereas nonetheless serving because the Chinese territory’s chief government. Tung Chee-hwa, a billionaire, allegedly arrange offshore corporations after he retired from workplace.

CY Leung was Hong Kong’s chief between 2012 and 2017, whereas Tung was town’s first chief government after Hong Kong’s handover to China in 1997. He remained in cost till 2005.

Both males at the moment are serving as senior members of an advisory committee for the Chinese authorities and there are studies that CY Leung may search a political comeback because the time period of the present Hong Kong chief government, Carrie Lam, involves an finish.

The landmark investigation concerned 600 journalists from 150 information organisations in 117 nations, sorting by about 11.9 million information from greater than a dozen monetary establishments. It is estimated that the world leaders in enterprise and politics are linked to offshore wealth amounting to trillions of {dollars}.

The opening of offshore accounts will not be prohibited by regulation. But if the aim of these accounts is to keep away from taxes of their respective nations, then that might be deemed unlawful.

Aside from CY Leung and Tung, some 35 present and former world leaders, together with the Russian President Vladimir Putin and King Abdullah II of Jordan, have been additionally named.

According to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), CY Leung didn’t declare the sale in 2015 of an estimated 2.3m Hong Kong {dollars} ($295,000) price of shares of the corporate DTZ Japan Ltd. ICIJ collaborated with Hong Kong’s Stand News within the investigation.

Stand News stated CY Leung reportedly held 30 % of shares within the firm by two offshore corporations.

The report additionally stated that even after he took workplace as Hong Kong’s chief government on July 1, 2012, Leung continued to function director of three offshore corporations and solely give up his posts in August that very same yr.

Leung by no means publicly acknowledged his function and duties within the three corporations, based on the report.

Leung livid

Leung characterised the Stand News report as deceptive and warned towards fanning the “flames of irresponsible journalism” in a sequence of posts on social media.

Writing on Facebook, he stated he was solely required to declare shares he owned immediately owned, and never these in subsidiaries of corporations.

“Possession and transactions of share in subsidiaries need not be declared,” he stated, including that he didn’t train decision-making rights within the corporations talked about, together with DTZ Japan.

He additionally justified his continued presence as director of the three corporations into his time period as Hong Kong chief, saying there have been totally different procedures in contracts, and in some situations, resignations didn’t take impact instantly.

“I activated all resignation procedures before I took office as the chief executive,” he stated.

Former chief government CY Leung reacted angrily to the Pandora Papers leak and warned towards fanning the  ‘flames of irresponsible journalism’ following the expose of his enterprise transactions [File: Anthony Wallace/AFP]

Leung got here underneath investigation following allegations revealed within the Sydney Morning Herald in 2014 that he had obtained 50m Hong Kong {dollars} ($6.4m) in reference to bidding for property agency DTZ that he didn’t declare.

The report stated that Leung was paid the sum to cease him from taking a place with DTZ’s competitor. The grievance towards him was dropped in 2018, with the justice division citing inadequate proof.

He was additionally investigated for alleged potential battle of curiosity and tax evasion, however these circumstances have been dropped in 2020.

The Stand News report additionally stated that each CY Leung and Tung have been shoppers of Trident Trust, a world firm that manages trusts and funds. The paper alleged each males used intermediaries to register offshore accounts and shell corporations world wide for themselves and relations to shelter them from taxes.

Meanwhile, Tung additionally reportedly arrange a minimum of seven offshore corporations after he left workplace. Using a kind of corporations, an account was opened with HSBC with an estimated $1m (7.8m Hong Kong {dollars}) in belongings.

Tung and his relations additionally opened as much as 72 offshore firm accounts.

According to Forbes Magazine, which charts the fortunes of the world’s richest individuals, Tung’s wealth is estimated at $2.6bn.

Tung and his household have but to answer the report.

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