Tuesday, 12 October 2021 04:44

Pandora Papers: I don’t own more than $15m in offshore account –Peter Obi

Former Governor of Anambra state, Peter Obi has revealed that he doesn’t own more than $15 million in his offshore account and not $500 million as was widely reported.

Speaking on Arise TV on Monday, he addressed the release of the Pandora Papers, a project carried out by a global International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which showed that he owned companies in tax havens and reportedly didn’t declare all his assets before he was sworn in as Governor in Anambra State.

 

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) pored through leaked files retrieved from some offshore services firms around the world that set up shell companies and other offshore entities for clients. About 600 journalists from 150 media organisations around the world went through over 11.9 million confidential files and it was discovered that Obi had investments in tax havens.

However, Obi insisted that  he didn’t do anything illegal because the companies are trust companies which are legitimate vehicles used everywhere globally for investment, savings and estate planning purposes.

“Trust company is a legitimate vehicle used everywhere globally for investment, savings and estate planning purposes. In my case and that of my family, it was done on very valuable advice of our then bankers, Loyds TSB. This is what they did for all their international clients who operated at the time I lived in the UK. They will help you to see that the formulated trust company offshore and that is what we did. This company was never used to launder money before, during and after till date. It wasn’t used for anything during my time in office. It was strictly a trust company for savings and family planning that was used to support our borrowings which we even invested in this country.

 

“Every investment that I have done globally is legitimate and pays tax. If you are a black man in London, you are a suspect. If you are a Nigerian, you are a double suspect. For me to live in the UK where my bank wrote and said my account has been impeccable and gave me about $7m overdraft, it shows I pay my tax. If I earn anything in the UK, I pay the UK government their tax. I can’t pay property tax in Nigeria for a property that is in the UK. I was subject to probe of tax two years ago in Anambra State and I showed evidence that in the past 20 years, I have consistently paid my tax and I have never paid less than N50 million annually.

[Sun]

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