A law firm founded by the president of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, has been named in the so-called Pandora Papers – a massive leak of documents that reveals how the rich and powerful use offshore companies to hide their wealth.
According to the investigation, “a law firm in Cyprus, Nicos Chr. Anastasiades and Partners, appears as a key offshore go-between for wealthy Russians. The firm retains the name of its founder, the Cypriot President, and his two daughters are partners there.”
The records show that, in 2015, a compliance manager at the Panama law firm, Alcogal, found that the Cypriot law firm helped a Russian billionaire and former senator, Leonid Lebedev, conceal ownership of four companies by listing law firm employees as owners of Lebedev’s entities.
Lebedev fled his home country in 2015 after being accused of failing to declare his assets. He denies the allegations, and has since become a Hollywood film producer.
Mr Anastasiades became president of Cyprus in 2013. He said that while he owned shares in the law firm until his election, he had no active role in its affairs after becoming leader of the opposition in 1997.
In a statement to The Guardian, Anastasiades said: “I have no knowledge and it would be impossible for me to know and be in a position to respond to any allegations concerning the handling of the affairs of my ex-law firm.”
There is no suggestion that Anastasiades was involved in the firm’s activities.
Mr Anastasiades is among some 35 current and former leaders and more than 300 public officials featured in the Pandora Papers.
This includes leaders such as the King of Jordan, who allegedly secretly amassed £70m of UK and US property, and Russian President Vladimir Putin who is linked to secret assets in Monaco.
Source: The Guardian.