The so-called Pandora Papers, which were released this week by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, have uncovered some startling facts about the secretive financial dealings of high-profile individuals in some of the world's tax havens. The data, mined from 11.9 million documents leaked from 14 different sources around the world, details the hitherto unknown asset holdings of at least 35 current and former world leaders, more than 330 politicians and public officials, tycoons and celebrities in 91 countries and territories. Although no Singaporeans have been implicated in the findings, a firm based in Singapore called Asiaciti Trust is named as having helped set up and managed trusts and shell companies in secrecy jurisdictions for its clients. The Monetary Authority of Singapore indicated that it will assess the information, conduct supervisory follow-up and take action if there are any breaches involving illicit activities.
The most comprehensive expose of the activities of tax havens to date, the Pandora Papers raise some potentially troubling questions relating to the impact of the financial shenanigans of the world's uber-rich. Although tax havens are legal entities and serve some legitimate purposes such as offering their clients privacy, safety and lawful tax avoidance, they are sometimes used for illegal purposes, such as hiding assets from the authorities and creditors, parking illicit gains, evading taxes and laundering corrupt payments.