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Countries rattled by tax-haven data leak

Politicians and companies worldwide face questions over offshore accounts

Posted: Apr 7, 2013 5:09 AM ET

Last Updated: Jun 5, 2013 2:36 PM ET

The massive leak of offshore financial records that came to light in early April pierced what was once an opaque domain. Politicians, business people and celebrities are seeing their dealings in tax havens laid bare. Here's a sampling of some of the global reaction.


Britain

Pressure has ratcheted up on Prime Minister David Cameron to overhaul the half-dozen tax havens under British dominion. Some of the world's biggest offshore locales — the Cayman Islands, the Isle of Man, the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Bermuda — are either U.K. territories or Crown dependencies. The cascade of revelations about shady dealings in the BVI in particular has elicited calls for action.

Austria

One of Europe's top bankers resigned following reports that he owned secret offshore corporations in Hong Kong and the British Virgin Islands. Herbert Stepic said he was stepping down as CEO of Vienna-based Raiffeisen Bank to avoid possible "massive harm to my company." The offshore corporations — which used "nominees" to serve on paper as directors and sharedholders, obscuring their real owner — were for investing in real estate in Singapore, Stepic said.

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Colombia

Former president Alvaro Uribe went on the defensive after it was reported that his two sons incorporated a company in the British Virgin Islands while he was still in office. The company was formed as part of a handicrafts business that "they've been involved in since they were children," Uribe said. "They are not tax evaders."

Mongolia

The country's deputy parliamentary Speaker, who served as finance minister until last summer, was dismissed following revelations about his secret offshore company and its Swiss bank account. Sangajav Bayartsogt acknowledged, "I should not have opened that account," and disclosed that it held $1 million at one point.

Philippines

A national commission charged with recouping the ill-gotten riches of the country's former dictator, the late Ferdinand Marcos, says it will investigate Marcos's daughter following divulgences about her offshore dealings. Maria Imelda Marcos Manotoc, known as Imee Marcos, is the governor of a northern Philippine province. She failed to report that she's the beneficiary of an offshore trust on her annual disclosure statements.

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