Some 400,000 documents leaked on offshore companies in Bahamas, including on Ukrainians.

The "Ukrainian part" of the Bahamian archive contains data on nearly 60 companies.

REUTERS

REUTERS

Some 400,000 documents have been leaked from the Bahamas' register of legal entities.

A massive dataset includes information on citizens of over 100 countries who applied to the Caribbean jurisdiction, one of the world's most famous offshore zones, to register their business, RFE/RL Ukrainian service reported.

The publication refers to the Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDoS) initiative. U.S. journalists Emma Best and L.B. Horne are one of its founders, while the rest of the members are anonymous technical experts and online activists. A number of similar leaks have already been published on the website aimed at combating secrecy.

The so-called "Bahamian files" were made public in mid-May. Based on these documents, an investigation has already been published by Germany's Spiegel, which spoke about the offshore secrets of famous Germans, namely former football legend Uwe Seeler, stakeholders in BMW Corporation, etc.

In 2016, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) published the so-called Bahamas Leaks – a bulk of data from the Bahamas' register of legal entities. At the same time, the public interface of the ICIJ database contained no documents – they were never made public. This was done for reasons of personal data protection, the Consortium explained.

Unlike the ICIJ, DDoS activists posted a full archive of documents. Project co-founder Best also said the uploaded archive contained more data than Bahamas Leaks, while some of it relates to a more recent period, namely until 2018.

The "Ukrainian part" of the Bahamian archive contains data on nearly 60 companies. Most of them are founded by Ukrainians who are not part of government, being low-profile businessmen. But a number of names do draw public attention.

A former deputy minister, an oligarch, a diplomat, and a former lawmaker – this is an incomplete list of well-known figures who turned out to have registered their business in the Bahamian offshore zone. Journalists of RFE/RL's investigative project "Skhemy" [Schemes] have analyzed who was spotted in the Bahamian files.

Read alsoPanamagate-2: journalists worldwide publish "Paradise Papers"

In particular, journalists noticed the Pharma Distributing Corp. owned by former MP and businessman Kostyantyn Zhevago. The businessman's press service told the journalists that the company had been liquidated and previously was engaged in the distribution of medicines in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The documents also mentioned Ukraine's Acting Director of Ukrspyrt Serhiy Bleskun, who was featured as the Bahamian-based Drink Inc. president. In 2016, he was Deputy Director of Ukrspyrt. Since early 2000, Bahamian Drinks Inc. has been the founder of the Drinks Ukraine subsidiary, which produces Smak brand juices.

The leaked documents also include companies of politicians and businessmen from the city of Odesa: Golden Gate Bay Limited owned by former MP Serhiy Kivalov and Odesa developer, owner of the Kyiv Post weekly newspaper Adnan Kіvan, as well as Real Estate Holding Ltd owned by businessman Borys Kohan, and former lawmakers Ihor and Oleksandr Urbansky.

The documents also have information in them about Arseniy Polozhiy as Director of Ditel Inc. as of 2012. In November 2010, former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych included Polozhiy in the Ukrainian delegation for negotiations with the European Commission regarding amendments to the Agreement between Ukraine and the EU on visa-free travel. The decree states that Polozhiy worked as Head of the Consular Legal Affairs Department at the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry. In 2012, Polozhiy was allowed to practice law in Kyiv. He is now engaged in research of Ukrainian businesses' competitiveness, in partnership with USAID.

Read alsoFinance and Credit Bank's ex-owner Zhevago loses US$55.5 mln in litigation with central bank

Registering firms in offshore jurisdictions is not a crime. This is a global practice that has developed for a number of reasons. For some, this is a matter of convenient structuring of their business, while many are attracted by the developed services in the "offshore zones" since they are able to quickly register a company there and easily administer it. The two largest magnets are low taxation and the ability to maintain complete anonymity.

In recent years, there has been a series of massive data leaks from offshore jurisdictions, such as Offshore Leaks, Bahamas Leaks, Panama Papers, Paradise Papers, etc.

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