GLOBAL reaction to the Panama Papers took a new turn yesterday, when the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) announced that it would convene a crisis meeting to discuss the issue.
After countries across the world were named in the latest leaks, tax officials from the OECD, which represents 34 nations, will meet in Paris on Wednesday, French President Francois Hollande has confirmed.
The OECD said in a statement that they will: “Explore possibilities of cooperation and information-sharing, identify tax compliance risks and agree [on]collaborative action in light of the Panama Papers revelations.”
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President Hollande has already told his Panamanian counterpart Juan Carlos Varela that France has put Panama back on a list of “non-cooperative countries”.
The sheer scale of the leaks has engulfed numerous countries. Nigeria’s Premium Times newspaper reported that the senate president Bukola Saraki, the third highest-ranking politician in the country, owns at least two offshore accounts.
In Argentina, demonstrators gathered outside the residence of President Mauricio Macri to protest at his connection to offshore companies.
In an eerily similar situation to Prime Minister David Cameron, Macri issued a statement saying he was not a shareholder in the Bahamas-based firm Fleg Trading Ltd, set up by his father, businessman Franco Macri.
The President announced he will attend a civil court to give explanations on why he omitted the accounts from the Argentinean equivalent of an MP’s register of interests, but prosecutor Federico Delgado is insisting on a criminal investigation.
In Pakistan’s National Assembly, politicians almost came to blows when the ruling party and opponents traded heated insults during a debate over offshore funds held by the powerful Sharif family, a fact revealed in the Panama Papers.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has stated there will be an inquiry by a commission to bring the facts before the public, but the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), headed by Imran Khan, as well as the main opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), have rejected the move.
They have demanded that a full judicial commission led by the country’s chief justice must conduct a probe, alongside international forensic auditors.
In Palestine, there was shock when it was revealed that Tareq Abbas, the son of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, had a $982,000 (£695,265) personal stake in the Arab Palestinian Investment Company.
The first names of American individuals and companies involved in the scandal have begun to emerge, with one source suggesting as many as 1,000 companies could be linked through a Nevada office of Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian financial services firm at the centre of the leak.