'About 800 Italians' named in global tax evasion leak

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Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, the ex Ferrari president, is among the Italians named in the Panama Papers. Photo: Gabriel Buoys/AFP
10:27 CEST+02:00
About 800 Italians, including ex-Ferrari president Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, have been cited in a massive leak of information which shows how world leaders, business people, sports stars and celebrities use offshore companies to hide their cash.

Montezemolo, the current Alitalia chairman who is also leading Rome’s bid to host the Olympics in 2024, and former racing driver Jarno Trulli, were named in the so-called Panama Papers, L’Espresso, which participated in the investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), reported.

The magazine did not say in which capacity the Italians had been implicated. Neither Montezemolo or Trulli responded to requests for comment.

Sources close to Montezemolo told La Stampa later on Monday that "neither he nor his family have offshore companies".

The leak involves more than 11.5 million documents from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.

The files date between 1977 and 2015, and offer insight into “the management of large flows of money through the global financial system, money which sometimes comes from tax evasion, corruption or organized crime,” L’Espresso wrote.

Italian businessman Giuseppe Donaldo Nicosia was also implicated as were Unicredit and UBI Banca, L’Espresso reported.

Nicosia was accused of fraud along with partner Marcello Dell'Utri, a former advisor to Silvio Berlusconi who is currently in jail for corruption and mafia collusion.

Some 140 politicians and public officials around the world are also mentioned by ICIJ, including 12 current or former world leaders including the president of Ukraine, Pakistan and Iceland's prime ministers and the king of Saudi Arabia.

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Having an offshore account is not illegal, but such accounts are often linked to tax evasion and other illegal activity.

“Most of the services the offshore industry provides are legal if used by the law abiding,” the ICIJ said.

“But the documents show that banks, law firms and other offshore players have often failed to follow legal requirements that they make sure their clients are not involved in criminal enterprises, tax dodging or political corruption. In some instances, the files show, offshore middlemen have protected themselves and their clients by concealing suspect transactions or manipulating official records.” 

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