The “Panama Papers” scandal involves the leaking of some 11.5 million records, dating back nearly 40 years, belonging to Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca. The files contain details on more than 214,000 offshore entities connected to people around the world, including billionaires, sports stars, politicians, drug smugglers and fraudsters.
The leak was obtained by German news outlet Süddeutsche Zeitung and published with the help of The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Hungarian investigative journalist András Pethő of Direkt36 was one of more than 370 journalists who had the distinct privilege of accessing the data.
According to Pethő, a number of Hungarian citizens are named in the Panama Papers leak, including former Fidesz MP Zsolt Horváth, who served as a Fidesz MP for 16 years and has popped up in the leaked corporate documents.
The problem is that Horváth failed to mention his interest in two companies in his asset declarations submitted to the Hungarian parliament. Both companies are incorporated in the Republic of Seychelles.
Pethő writes that Horváth initially denied having any connection to the offshore companies, but then admitted to some kind of a connection when Pethő named the companies. Since then, Horváth has not been available for comment.
The Panama Papers leak also includes information related to complex offshore financial deals in which USD 2 billion was transferred to individuals close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.