African Oil Tycoons, Businessmen Listed in Panama Papers

African Oil Tycoons, Businessmen Listed in Panama Papers

An Angolan minister, a Congolese politician, a Nigerian governor and the nephew of South Africa’s President,  are some of African leaders with ties to oil money implicated in the so-called Panama Papers leak, International Business Time reported.

More than 11.5m documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca were released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and some European newspapers, revealing how the super-rich use offshore tax havens to hide their wealth. Newsweek wrote that in Africa the law firm allegedly helped establish shell companies and offshore accounts for global power players from more than a dozen nations, including at least four business and political leaders with links to oil.

In Angola, the second-largest oil producer in Africa,  José Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos, the Minister of Petroleum, was listed as one of two individuals who had power of attorney for Medea Investments Limited, a company that was founded in 2001 in the tiny Pacific island nation of Niue and valued its own capital at $1m. The company moved to Samoa in 2006 and became inactive in 2009, according to the leaked data.

In the Republic of Congo, the leaked data showed that Bruno Jean-Richard Itoua, as the-then energy advisers to President Denis Sassou-Nguesso, held power of attorney for two offshore companies in 2004, while at the same time he was Director-General of the National Oil Company of Congo (SNPC), which contributes more than 70% of government revenues.

In Nigeria, James Ibori, the jailed former governor of oil-rich Delta state, had the Panama-based law firm as the registered agent of four offshore companies connected, including Stanhope Investments, which was founded in Niue in 2003.  Ibori was sentenced by a London court to 13 years in prison on money laundering and fraud charges in 2012.

And in South Africa, the nephew of embattled President Jacob Zuma, Clive Khulubuse Zuma, was authorized to represent Caprikat Limited. The British Virgin Islands-based firm was one of two offshore companies that controversially acquired oilfields in the Democratic Republic of Congo in a $6.8m deal in 2010. The mining magnate, who reportedly owns countless cars and enjoys expensive Cuban cigars, has denied holding any offshore accounts.


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