The British newspaper The Guardian and other news outlets reported October 3 on the Pandora Papers, a cache of 12 million documents leaked from companies that conceal money for the world’s rich and powerful in various tax or secrecy havens.
The cache, leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, names world leaders, celebrities, judges, officials and business owners who hid their money offshore. Among them are Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Reacting to the Pandora Papers revelations on her Telegram messenger channel, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova wrote:
“On June 4, 2021, U.S. President Joe Biden announced the publication of a National Security Study Memorandum on the Fight Against Corruption to establish combatting corruption as a core U.S. national security interest. That’s what he said. Today, according to The Guardian, the ICIJ investigation named the US as the largest tax haven."
In fact, Biden did the sign memo. But the claim attributed to the ICIJ is false, and Zakharova and Russian state media have ignored or played down the outsized proportion of Russian nationals and oligarchs represented in the offshore secrecy documents.
The ICIJ did not name the U.S. as the largest “tax” haven, but rather as “one of the biggest players in the offshore [secrecy] world.” Other research suggests the U.S. is the world’s second-biggest tax haven – behind the Cayman Islands and ahead of Switzerland.
Zakharova leaves out one of the biggest findings.