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Presidents, footballers: Latin Americans named in the Panama Papers

panama papers Updated: Apr 05, 2016 14:41 IST
Latin American Panama Papers

Argentine President Mauricio Macri s one of the high profile figures from Latin America to have been implicated in the Panama Papers leaks.(AFP Photo)

Argentina’s new President Mauricio Macri, star footballer Lionel Messi and a key player in Brazil’s political crisis are among the prominent Latin Americans caught up in the revelations of international tax fraud from the Panama Papers leaks.

Millions of documents from the Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca -- which helped some of the world’s richest figures set up offshore companies -- came to light after the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung shared them with other media outlets and the nonprofit group International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Here are some of the high-profile Latin Americans linked to the scandal so far.


President Mauricio Macri

He took office in December vowing to fight corruption and fix the economy.

Macri, his father and brother were directors of an offshore company registered in the Bahamas, La Nacion newspaper reported.

Macri said on Monday “there was nothing strange about the operation” and that it was declared to the tax authorities.

“It was a legal operation run by someone else to set up a company to invest in Brazil,” he said on television.

Lionel Messi

Widely hailed as the world’s best footballer, the Argentina and Barcelona striker together with his father Jorge were named as owners of a company undisclosed to the Spanish tax authorities.

(AP Photo)

The family said on Monday it was “a totally inactive company that never had any funds or any open current accounts.”

The leaks also mentioned Nestor Grindetti, finance minister for the city of Buenos Aires when Macri was mayor, and Daniel Munoz, former private secretary to the late ex-president Nestor Kirchner (2003-2007).


Eduardo Cunha

Among 57 Brazilians named in the leaks is the man spearheading the charge to drive President Dilma Rousseff from office.

Cunha is speaker of the Brazilian legislature’s lower house, where an impeachment committee is hearing allegations against the president.

Brazil's President of the Chamber of Deputies Eduardo Cunha speaks about his name appearing in the documents leaked from the Panamanian Mossack-Fonseca law firm, at the Chamber of Deputies, in Brasilia, Brazil. (AP Photo)

Although his own name does not appear on the list, he owns a Brazilian firm named in the leaks.

He denied the allegation.


Juan Armando Hinojosa Cantu

The tycoon is reportedly close to President Enrique Pena Nieto, whose wife received a lavish mansion from one of Hinojosa’s companies, the website Aristegui Noticias reported.

Other Mexicans linked to the Panama Papers include an oil company contractor, politicians, a popular actress and figures connected to drug cartels, the magazine Proceso reported.


Fujimori allies

Two major supporters of leading presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori -- Jorge Javier Yoshiyama Sasaki and Sil Yok Leethey -- have undeclared offshore assets, according to news website Ojo Publico.

The report is likely to fuel protests by opponents of Fujimori, who is the daughter of jailed ex-president Alberto Fujimori and leads in the polls heading into a presidential election Sunday.


Gonzalo Delaveau Swett

The head of the anti-corruption campaign group Transparent Chile, Delaveau is one of the highest-profile Chileans named, the investigative journalism group CIPER said.

Delaveau resigned Monday, saying the allegations had “damaged the institution” and made it impossible to continue in his job, which he had held on an interim basis.

Former Real Madrid striker Ivan Zamorano was also on the list of Chileans implicated.

He denied wrongdoing, saying he had always paid his taxes.


Hollman Carranza

The son of late gem baron Victor Carranza, who was dubbed “the king of emeralds,” is among 850 Colombians named in the leaks.

Carlos Gutierrez Robayo

The brother-in-law of the former Bogota mayor, Gustavo Petro, reportedly set up 15 companies and foundations in Panama and the Virgin Islands.

Petro slammed the allegations and distanced himself from Gutierrez.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and his Guatemalan counterpart Jimmy Morales said on Monday they hoped the leaks would boost the battle against fraud.

“This is a fight that we all have to wage against tax evasion, money laundering, organized crime and corruption,” Santos said.

Costa Rica

The leaks name prominent right-wing politician Otto Guevara, who blocked a bill to crack down on tax fraud, according to the news site Seminario Universidad. He denied knowing about the Mossack Fonseca law firm.

Hundreds of other companies in Guatemala and El Salvador were named in the leaks, news media reported.