The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) today released a searchable database that strips away the secrecy of nearly 214,000 offshore entities created in 21 jurisdictions, from Nevada to Hong Kong and the British Virgin Islands.
Among the secret accounts include at least two companies in Ethiopia.
One company listed is Poly Ethiopia Petroleum Company Limited. Poly Petroleum Exploration & Production Company Limited is a shareholder of Poly Petroleum Investment Consulting. The beneficiary is listed as Shaanxi Yanchang Petroleum (Group) Cp. Ltd.
Another company listed is Girma Agriculture (Ethiopia) Inc. Song Heng is a shareholder of Girma Agriculture (Ethiopia) Inc. and used Orion House Services (HK) Limited as an intermediary. It is not clear who the actual owner(s) of Girma Agriculture (Ethiopia) Inc. in Ethiopia are.
The Panama Papers are 11.5 million leaked documents that detail financial and attorney–client information for more than 214,488 offshore entities. The leaked documents were created by Panamanian law firm and corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca.
The leaked documents illustrate how wealthy individuals, including public officials, are able to keep personal financial information private. While the use of offshore business entities is often not illegal, reporters found that some of the shell corporations were used for illegal purposes, including fraud, kleptocracy, tax evasion, and evading international sanctions.