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Local daily pins down high-profile executive in first leg of ‘Pandora Papers’

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L’Express daily newspaper, Mauritius’ exclusive partner of the ICIJ (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists) in the Pandora Papers, said it is the only media local outlet to have access to the 12 million documents that have leaked from half a dozen financial jurisdictions around the world.

The Pandora Papers is an international investigation led by 600 journalists that claims to expose financial secrets of rich and powerful.

It claimed that Sattar Hajee Abdoula, Chairman of SBM Holdings and Administrator of Air Mauritius until recently, is allegedly associated with two companies registered in the British Virgin Islands – a tax haven.

It added that these two companies have sold their shares to a controversial subsidiary of Deutsche Bank which has been suspected of concealing wealth for German clients.

Front Page of l’Express daily newspaper (Oct 4)

Sattar Hajee Abdoula reportedly confirmed the existence of these structures, but claimed that these shares have not been sold.

In total, 17 Mauritian citizens and 37 Mauritian companies have been cited, according to the newspaper, as “beneficial owners” of offshore companies in the jurisdictions from which the documents were leaked.

L’Express said it will reveal the identity of the 17 Mauritians as its investigation continues.

However, it said to have found the name of a Mauritian accountant, who has often been associated with the management of assets of a local “political patriarch.”

“The Pandora Papers show that abuses by the Mauritian jurisdiction continue despite all warnings from the FATF and the European Union (EU), it said.

The newspaper also mentioned that an Indian Army General as being the ultimate beneficiary of a company registered in Seychelles.

“The company opened a bank account in a Mauritian bank by committing to credit $ 1 million each year, raising serious questions on the source of funds and the KYC exercise conducted by this Mauritian bank. The editorial staff of l’Express is collaborating with Indian colleagues to reveal everything in the coming days,” the newspaper announced.

Then, it mentionned three Russian oligarchs who own mines in South Africa and whose names have allegedly been cited in murder and corruption cases in South Africa – they have allegedly used, according to the Pandora Papers, the Mauritian jurisdiction for a transfer of $ 300 million.

While Mauritius is still in EU ‘s blacklist, a finance minister from a European country allegedly used Mauritius to set up a company in Mauritius, “to pay less tax” for a business he owns in Africa.

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