Contracorriente in Honduras, and the Latin American Center of Journalism Research (CLIP) analysed thousands of documents from various firms that focus on running offshore companies in Panama the British Virgin Islands, and other regions. The findings from this alliance are part of a cross-boder investigation called Pandora Papers, led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
An anonymous source shared 2.94 terabytes of confidential financial records with the ICIJ in instalments over a course of various months. They amount to 11.9 million documents from 14 companies that provide offshore services and create and administer shell companies and trusts in fiscal paradises around the world.
Called the Pandora Papers, these documents date back to 1996 through to last year, and are in English, Spanish, Chinese, Greek, Russian, and other languages. They reveal connections between businesses in more than 200 countries and territories. Collaboration between over 600 journalists in 117 countries facilitated an in-depth investigation into hundreds of the documents.
Yaudet Burbara Canahuati, businessperson and popular Honduran legislator who is running for re-election for his fourth term, did not declare his assets to the Court of Accounts in 2010, as he is obliged to. It was not possible to establish if he declared the funds he had in the British Virgin Islands of the offshore company he managed there since 2015. Although the law prohibits it, his family’s hotel has signed several contracts with the state.
After Honduran politician Yankel Rosenthal’s marathon in the courts, new offshore businesses come to light
During the trial that ended in a two-year prison sentence in the United States for attempting to do business with drug traffickers, it was revealed that former Honduran minister Yankel Rosenthal Coello had three offshore companies. This journalistic investigation found that he actually had six other companies in tax havens.
An analysis of thousands of documents from the Pandora Papers has revealed that the former politician and cattle rancher owned three shell companies in Panama, and that his wife, Rosa Elena Bonilla, managed an offshore company while she was first lady. Lobo’s son and a former right-hand man both sought to create companies in tax havens. Adding to their woes, the former president and his wife were both named on the Engel List, and Bonilla is currently facing a corruption trial.
Current mayor of Tegucigalpa and popular presidential candidate Nasry Asfura, and former mayor and current vice-president of Honduras Ricardo Álvarez, managed offshore companies in Panama while in office. The revelation is particularly important considering they have both been investigated for alleged embezzlement. So far neither of them has offered explanations for the offshores.
INTERNACIONAL CONSORTIUM OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is a global network of more than 200 investigative journalists in 70 countries who collaborate on in-depth investigative stories.
Headquartered in Washington, it was founded in 1997 as a project of the Center for Public Integrity. Currently, its director is Irish journalist Gerard Ryle.
CENTRO LATINOAMERICANO DE INVESTIGACIÓN PERIODÍSTICA
The CLIP is a non-profit organization with headquarters in Costa Rica and a team based around Latin America. It carries out and coordinates collaborative, cross-border journalistic investigations, and provides its technological innovations to journalists in the region.