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Four companies linked to Jamaica in Panama Papers database

Published:Wednesday | May 11, 2016 | 5:00 AM

At least four company names found in the database of Panama Papers are identified as having links to Jamaica, but a local search of company records have turned up no reference to any of them.

A search for 'Jamaica' in the database turned up the names Ciamara Holdings, Direct Transportation and Group Logistics, Kanton Star, and Global Equity Finance. There is no suggestion that any of these entities have done anything wrong.

In addition, a name similar to one company that appears in the database but was not linked to Jamaica, was found in Companies Office of Jamaica records as an entity incorporated in 1975.

However, there is no information attached to the Jamaican records neither directors nor shareholders although the company is listed as 'active'. It is unclear whether this company and the one referenced in the Panama Papers are one and the same.

The Panama Papers are leaked documents about offshore companies. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) published a searchable database of the documents on Monday, covering some 214,000 entities. The group cautions that there are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts, and that it does not intend to suggest or imply that any persons, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or acted improperly.

Read updates from the Associated Press on the database below:

 

BOLIVIA TO INVESTIGATE

 

Bolivia's Congress will investigate 95 offshore companies with Bolivian links that were listed in the leaked Panama Papers documents, officials said Tuesday.

The companies were identified on Monday when the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists posted names of offshore companies and other financial data contained in documents that originated with a Panama law firm that specialises in setting up such accounts. The documents themselves were not posted.

Bolivian vice-president and Congress leader Alvaro Garcia said the scandal involves businessmen of "suspicious origins." He said he would request the creation of a special legislative commission to probe their role in the offshore accounts.

The tax agency will also investigate possible economic damage against the Bolivian state.

Some of the companies are linked to Branko Marinkovic, a soybean magnate who has been one of President Evo Morales' chief political rivals. Marinkovic, the son of Croatian immigrants, fled Bolivia after leading a failed revolt against Morales in the eastern state of Santa Cruz in 2007-2008.

 

RUSSIA DISTANCES ITSELF

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman says the release of financial information in the "Panama Papers" should not be seen as linked to the Russian government's years-long efforts to persuade Russian businessmen to bring money back to the country from offshore accounts.

Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Tuesday that despite Russia's efforts to "de-offshore the economy", the use of offshore accounts was not illegal in Russia. The only issue is tax avoidance and tax evasion.

Peskov said: "The Panama Papers are stolen documents. We need to call things by their real names."

The latest release of financial documents includes a list of more than 6,000 Russians and more than 11,000 corporate entities.

Putin in 2014 proposed a capital amnesty under which funds brought back to the country would not face questions on tax and other issues. He later said the amnesty would have to comply with international money-laundering rules to prevent "capital earned in an illegal manner" from being amnestied.

 

JAPAN HARDLY MENTIONED

 

Relatively few Japanese businesses and individuals are featured in the database of offshore companies released by the ICIJ.

One prominent businessman, Japanese Internet company SoftBank Group Corp's Masayoshi Son says two companies that his group company had invested in were among the companies it named.

Son did not say which companies they were, but he told reporters during a news conference on the company's earnings, "I was surprised to see it on the news."

Softbank has invested in about 2,000 companies over the years.

"There just happened to be two companies out of 2,000," he said.

The latest release of the names of thousands of offshore companies and other financial data of the rich and powerful spurred renewed calls to counter corruption and tax evasion.

Japan's government spokesman said on Tuesday that Tokyo plans to propose an action plan for combating graft at the summit of the Group of Seven rich industrial economies that will be held later May 26-27 in Ise, Japan.

The Panama Papers comprise more than 11.5 million leaked files from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.