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Government & Politics

More Powerful Nigerians Linked With Massive #PanamaPapers Fraud

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Former Senate President David Mark has been linked with running eight offshore companies registered on the British Virgin Island in an ongoing investigation into the so-called panama papers

Senator Mark who recently won re-election into the upper chamber for the fifth time, is the latest Nigerian to be named in the scandal which revealed how Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca  helped at least 140 political figures to hide their assets in offshore dealings to launder money, evade tax and sanctions.

The revealing documents, obtained by German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung and shared with more than 100 media groups worldwide by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), is described as one of the largest such probes in history.

Senate President Bukola Saraki’s wife, former Delta State Governor James Ibori, Saraki’s brother Laolu, his associates Obi Asika and Olufela Ibidapo, have also been named as running shell companies that are listed in what is known as the Panama Papers.

The companies associated with Mark are: Sikera Overseas S.A, Colsan Enterprises Limited, Goldwin Transworld Limited, Hartland Estates Limited, Marlin Holdings Limited, Medley Holdings Limited, Quetta Properties Limited and Centenary Holdings Limited.

In the documents, Mark is repeatedly marked as a politically exposed person. At a point, the former Senate President sent documents, across to Mosseca Fonseca to prove that he was clean.

The businesses Mark is conducting with the companies could not be ascertained.

Online newspaper Premium Times quoted a previous investigation it conducted as showing that Mark’s estranged wife, Vikky Preye Mark, was also exposed as an operator of secret offshore accounts.

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Mrs. Mark operated an account with the Swiss branch of HSBC, but with details made largely secret.

Although she was known within the bank as the beneficial owner of the account, she was largely identified with a secret code – 14312MP.

Mrs. Mark opened the account on December 18, 1989 and closed it on July 12, 1991. About that time, her husband, then a top ranking army officer, had served as military administrator of Niger State and minister of Communications.

Also named in the massive fraud is Theophilus Danjuma, a retired army general and former defence minister,.

He is perhaps one of Nigeria’s richest personalities, due to his ownership of oil blocs and a money spinning shipping firm.

The retired general was said to be a long time user of offshore entities, and the Mossac Fonseca files has now exposed another of his companies – Eastcoast Investments Inc – which he incorporated in Nassau, in the Bahamas, on March 25, 1997.

The company, it was gathered had been indicted in series of stinking bribery scandal, while doing business with another firm –  Scancem International of Norway.

The global scandal claimed Iceland Prime Minister’s job yesterday following pressure from the citizens. He resigned over his involvement in the fraud.

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