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Relatives of China’s top leaders held secretive offshore companies

The International Consortium of International Journalists found that “Close relatives of China’s top leaders have held secretive offshore companies in tax havens that helped shroud the Communist elite’s wealth, a leaked cache of documents reveals.”

ICIJ has been working since 2012 to analyze about 2.5 million leaked offshore records. The latest installment digs into documents from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Here’s more from the ICIJ story:

“The data illustrates the outsized dependency of the world’s second largest economy on tiny islands thousands of miles away.  As the country has moved from an insular communist system to a socialist/capitalist hybrid, China has become a leading market for offshore havens that peddle secrecy, tax shelters and streamlined international deal making.

Every corner of China’s economy, from oil to green energy and from mining to arms trading, appears in the ICIJ data.

Chinese officials aren’t required to disclose their assets publicly and until now citizens have remained largely in the dark about the parallel economy that can allow the powerful and well-connected to avoid taxes and keep their dealings secret. By some estimates, between $1 trillion and $4 trillion in untraced assets have left the country since 2000.”

ICIJ worked with news organizations around the world to report and publish the package. The story behind the story is equally compelling. The team used encrypted emails, code names, and a host of other techniques to safely report on a country with a reputation for jailing journalists.

China quickly blocked access to the project.

And there’s more on the way. ICIJ and its partners will publish more stories in the coming days. Readers will also be able to explore the offshore networks of about 37,000 clients from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan on the Offshore Leaks Database.

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