Panama Papers: 676 companies in Mossack Fonseca’s database associated with address in Malta
There are 676 companies included in the leaked documents of Mossack Fonseca that are associated with an address in Malta. All of these companies have 277 shareholders in all. The companies associated with a Maltese address have 42 clients and 59 beneficiaries.
These figures appear in the leaked Mossack Fonseca Panama Papers, comprising of 11.5 million documents of which exists a database which shows the number of companies, clients, beneficiaries and shareholders in each country. The database has been mapped and published by the Irish Times, partners of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists of which The Malta Independent is an active member.
An association with a Maltese address does not necessarily mean that the owners or beneficiaries are actually Maltese. One should also note that the ultimate number of owners of these offshore companies is unclear. This is because the owner could be using intermediaries which are based in other countries. What is certain is that amongst the 277 shareholders lies the name of a Maltese Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister: Konrad Mizzi.
Mossack Fonseca has been the epicentre of the Panama Papers scandal which was exposed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The international law firm has worked with many of the world’s wealthy and politically-exposed people to hide funds using mazes of offshore companies. The Maltese Minister for Energy and Health, Konrad Mizzi was one of the politicians mentioned in the leaks. He is the only Minister in the European Union who was directly named in the leaks.
Considering its size and population, Malta’s 676 companies which are included in the Mossack Fonseca database, are considerable to say the least. Malta’s connection with secret companies is even more significant when considering that only 95 companies mentioned in the Mossock Fonseca leaks are associated with an address in Australia while India has 91 companies associated with Fonseca with 384 shareholders in all.
This database covers companies that are registered only with Mossack Fonseca and it does not mention other firms which provide similar services.
Hong Kong, Switzerland and Panama are among the top countries in which companies that feature in the Mossack Fonseca database are connected to.
Hong Kong almost has 38,000 companies, Switzerland has 38,400 and Panama, the country to which the Maltese Minister is associated with, has some 15,800 companies associated with Fonseca.
The latter dominates Latin America in the number of companies associated with the law firm, followed by Argentina and the Bahamas.
More than 7,200 companies are in Dubai and over 9,000 in the UK. Singapore has more than 4,000 which feature in the database.
The British Virgin Islands are home to more than 1,000 companies associated with Fonseca.
It appears that the size of the country is not reflective of the number of companies mentioned in the leak. Cyprus, which is also one of the smallest states in Europe, is associated with more than 3,600 companies linked to Mossack Fonseca. Even Liechtenstein, which has a population of less than 38,000 people, has some 2,000 companies registered in the database.
Despite having a considerable number of beneficiaries and shareholders, Africa is not associated with many of these companies. Most of the African countries, in fact, do not even have one company registered in the database. The Seychelles however, houses some 686 companies with over a 1,000 shareholders.
The Panama Papers leaks have sent shockwaves throughout the whole world. It caused protests calling for resignations of those politicians involved in countries like Iceland and the United Kingdom.
Malta also had its share of demonstrations. The Nationalist Party organised two national protests in a matter of a few weeks, both attracting large crowds.
While countries such as the UK, New Zealand and Australia quickly announced plans on how to deal with secret companies such as those uncovered in the Panama Papers, the Maltese Government hasn’t yet presented any such proposals.