About 10 Nigerian politicians have been exposed in a new investigation conducted by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) for using tax and secrecy havens to buy property and hide assets.
They are among the over 330 politicians and 130 Forbes billionaires, as well as celebrities, fraudsters, drug dealers, royal family members and leaders of religious groups in over 90 countries and territories.
The investigation, according to Premium Times, will reveal how some of the most influential Nigerians – a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, current and former state governors, past and present lawmakers, businesspeople, a popular pastor and many others – set up shell companies, and sometimes warehouse huge financial assets, in notorious secrecy jurisdictions.
It said the stories will also show how some of these individuals flout extant laws and legislations as they hide these assets, some of which have attracted the interest of law enforcement agencies in the UK and elsewhere.
The investigation is based on a leak of confidential records of 14 offshore service providers that give professional services to wealthy individuals and corporations seeking to incorporate shell companies, trusts, foundations and other entities in low- or no-tax jurisdictions.
The entities enable owners to conceal their identities from the public and sometimes from regulators and the service providers help them open bank accounts in countries with light financial regulation.
ICIJ said it matched Forbes’s billionaires lists against the Pandora Papers to find more than 130 who had entities in secrecy jurisdictions. More than 100 of them had a combined fortune valued at more than $600 billion in 2021.