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Wednesday 07.12.2016 | Name days: Dzirkstīte, Anta, Antonija
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Surprise over silence about Estonia’s 880 Panama firms

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Leading Estonian journalist Anvar Samost evaluated on April 7 that reports on Estonian beneficiaries and companies mentioned in the Panama Papers have currently not been published since Estonian media are not part of ICIJ, the consortium, which published the Panama Papers.

ERR quoted Anvar Samost, the former director of Postimees and the Baltic News Service, as saying to ETV on April 7 that he was surprised that no Estonian journalist had had any news to report concerning the Panama Papers.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) put the numbers of connections of Panama’s law firm Mossack Fonseca for Estonia at seven clients, 22 beneficiaries, 80 shareholders and 880 companies.

Speaking about the numbers related to Estonia, Samost commented that the 22 beneficiaries mentioned on ICIJ’s site were the most interesting point. «This means that there’s a good chance that there will be some well-known names on this list once it becomes public».

Reportedly, the Panama documents mention the names of some of Latvia’s famous and infamous people, including Aivars Lembergs, businessman Ainars Gulbis and his son, tennis player Ernests Gulbis, airBaltic’s new investor Ralf-Dieter Montag-Girmes, founder of Lido Gunars Kirsons and others, as reported by Re:Baltica.

As noted by the investigative journalism company, there are 15,951 entries in the leaked database concerning Latvia. This is largely because clients of Mossack Fonseca had accounts in Latvian banks servicing non-residents. Some of the actual beneficiaries and shareholders mentioned as linked to Latvia are citizens of Russia and former CIS countries. Some are mostly unknown people, and publishing their names would serve no purpose, as using services of foreign companies is not a crime, Re:Baltica reports.

According to information from Re:Baltica, the recently leaked Panama documents contain information about 10 Latvian clients of MF law firm, 1,380 Latvian companies, 21 beneficiaries and 81 shareholders from Latvia.

Re:Baltica notes that some materials about Aivars Lembergs and his daughter had been known previously, as offshore firms mentioned in the leaked documents had been previously mentioned in court processes launched against Lembergs.

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