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king abdullah of jordan

Image source: ICIJ

Several world leaders have denied wrongdoing after featuring in the Pandora Papers, a huge leak of financial documents from offshore companies.

The 12 million files constitute the biggest such leak in history.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Jordan’s King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein are among some 35 current and former leaders linked to the files.

Both have issued statements saying they have done nothing wrong.

Jordan’s royal palace said it was “not unusual nor improper” that King Abdullah owned property abroad.

Leaked documents show King Abdullah secretly spent more than £70 million ($100 million) on a property empire in the UK and US since taking power in 1999.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov meanwhile questioned the reliability of the “unsubstantiated” information, after it detailed hidden wealth linked to President Putin and members of his inner circle.

The data was obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in Washington DC, which has been working with more than 140 media organizations on its biggest ever global investigation.

Other leaders linked to the leak include:

  • Czech PM Andrej Babis, who allegedly failed to declare an offshore investment company used to purchase two villas for £12 million in the south of France;
  • Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who – along with six members of his family – has been linked to 13 offshore companies;
  • Chile’s President Sebastián Piñera, a billionaire businessman, who is accused of selling a copper and iron mine in an environmentally sensitive area to a childhood friend;
  • Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, whose family and close associates have allegedly been secretly involved in property deals in the UK worth more than £400 million.

Panama Papers: Vladimir Putin Apologizes for Sueddeutsche Zeitung Remarks

Panama Papers Posted Online

In a tweet thread, the Czech prime minister said the allegations are an attempt to influence elections scheduled for this week and insisted he has “never done anything wrong or illegal”.

president Kenyatta said the investigation “will go a long way in enhancing the financial transparency and openness that we require in Kenya and around the globe”, and promised to “respond comprehensively” to the leak once he returned from a state visit abroad.

The Pandora Papers show no evidence that the Kenyatta family stole or hid state assets in their offshore companies.

A statement from President Piñera’s office said he denied taking part in or having any information on the sale of the Dominga mining project.

The Pandora Papers is a leak of almost 12 million documents and files exposing the secret wealth and dealings of world leaders, politicians and billionaires. The data was obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in Washington DC which has led one of the biggest ever global investigations.

More than 600 journalists from 117 countries have looked at the hidden fortunes of some of the most powerful people on the planet.

Thousands of demonstrators have protested in Jordan for a third consecutive night against tax rises and austerity measures.

There are the biggest demonstrations in years.

Riot police fired tear gas and blocked roads in the capital Amman to stop protesters getting close to the cabinet office.

The protesters say a new tax bill backed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will hurt the poor and middle class.

King Abdullah of Jordan has called for compromise from all sides.

Protesters chanted anti-government slogans and called for King Abdullah to dismiss PM Hani Mulki have been holding vigils near the cabinet office.

Image source Wikimediameasures

Iran Protests: Revolutionary Guards Threaten Crackdown

There have also been some protests in provincial towns, where police have reportedly used tear gas. In the southern town of Maan protesters burned tires on highways and there were scuffles with police, Reuters reported.

Jordanians have seen prices rise with salaries failing to keep up.

On June 1, King Abdullah intervened to freeze an increase in fuel prices.

However, the protesters are angriest about the proposed tax bill, which they fear will further worsen living standards.

PM Hani Mulki has refused to scrap the IMF-backed tax bill, saying it was up to parliament to decide whether to pass it or not.

The government says it needs the money to fund public services and says the new tax bill will see higher earners pay more.

Earlier this year sales tax was increased and bread subsidies were scrapped as part of a plan to cut Jordan’s debt.

Hani Mulki said he hoped the reforms needed to get Jordan’s economy “back on track” would be complete by mid-2019.

King Abdullah has said that conflict in neighboring Syria and Iraq has worsened Jordan’s financial situation.

Jordan’s warplanes have carried out their first air strikes on Islamic State (ISIS) targets since the militants released a video showing the killing of captured Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh.

On their way back, the planes flew over the village of Moaz al-Kasasbeh.

Their flight coincided with a visit to the village by King Abdullah II, who was meeting the pilot’s family.

King Abdullah II has vowed to the step up the fight against ISIS. Jordan is part of a US-led coalition bombing the militants.

Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh was captured by the militants last year after his F-16 fighter jet crashed in Syria. ISIS this week released a video showing the pilot being burned alive in a cage, sparking outrage and calls for revenge in Jordan.

State television pictures on February 5 showed the king sitting somber-faced with Saif al-Kasasbeh, the pilot’s father, at a gathering in Aya village, near the city of Karak, south of the capital Amman.King Abdullah of Jordan pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh

The king gestured to the skies as the warplanes flew overhead, the Associated Press news agency said.

Saif al-Kasasbeh told mourners that the aircraft were returning from a raid on Syria’s Raqqa, the de facto capital of the militants’ self-declared caliphate, which spans territory in Iraq and Syria.

While Jordan did not specify the location of the air strikes, a security official quoted by Reuters said they had targeted ISIS in Syria.

However, anti-ISIS activists in Raqqa said there were no coalition air strikes in the city on February 4.

“The response of Jordan and its army after what happened to our dear son will be severe,” King Abdullah said, after cutting short a trip to the US this week.

Jordan responded to the release of the gruesome video, which depicted the caged pilot engulfed in flames, by executing two convicts, including Sajida al-Rishawi, a failed female suicide bomber.

Jordan had earlier sought to secure the pilot’s release in a swap involving Rishawi.

However, it is now believed that IS had killed the pilot a month ago.

Saif al-Kasasbeh praised the king and condemned the militants.

“You are a wise monarch,” the Reuters quotes him as saying.

“These criminals violated the rules of war in Islam and they have no humanity. Even humanity disowns them.”

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