Opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema has been identified as one of the 120 politicians across the world that have used tax havens for tax dodging purposes.
The Paradise Papers, numbering 13.4-million leaked documents from Appleby’s offices in Mauritius, have revealed how the rich evaded millions of dollars in tax and kept questionable business decisions under wraps.
Mr Hichilema is said to have become a Director of a Bermuda company known as AfNat Resources Ltd.
Bermuda is a UK island in the North Atlantic Ocean and is widely known as the World’s worst corporate tax heaven with zero personal income tax and corporate tax until 2016.
In March 2006, Mr Hichilema who is listed in the leaked documents as a Zambian corporate executive with interests in mining, finance and other industries resigned in August 2016, according to Appleby’s records.
Appleby is a law firm that claims to be one of the largest providers of offshore legal services.
Mr Hichilema’s AfNat Resources was incorporated in 2005 and explored for nickel and other metals in Zambia and other African countries.
It was listed on London’s alternative investment market until 2010 when it was purchased by Canadian mining company Axmin for about $14 million.
As on April, 14, 2010 AfNat Resources Limited was acquired by Axmin Inc.
AfNat Resources Limited explores and develops mineral resources in Zambia, Mozambique, and Togo.
It has a joint venture that holds five prospecting licenses for uranium and other minerals in Zambia with Zambezi Resources Limited, as well as owns the Mitaba nickel project in Zambia; and holds the Mavita project in Mozambique.
According to the Paradise Papers, Mr. Hichilema declined to answer questions from the International Centre for Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) about his roles as director.
Mr. Hichilema told ICIJ by phone that there is nothing illegal about a company registered in Bermuda.
The Paradise Papers is a leak of 13.4 million files taken mostly from the offshore law firm, Appleby.
The files were leaked to Suddeutsche Zeitung, the same German newspaper that took hold of the Panama Papers in April, 2016.
About 100 different media outlets worldwide are now poring over the details.
Sunday, which was day one of the disclosures revealed that some big names are involved – among them 120 politicians.
Donald Trump’s Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has also been named.
Secretary Ross has a stake in a shipping firm that receives millions of dollars a year in revenue from a company whose key owners include Russian President Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law and a Russian tycoon sanctioned by the US Treasury Department as a member of Putin’s inner circle.
On Monday, Mr. Ross told CNBC that it was “totally wrong” he did not disclose the links.
Stephen Bronfman, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s friend and adviser, is reported to have used offshore havens to avoid tax at home.
The Duchy of Lancaster, the private estate of the UK’s monarch, is also allegedly involved.
The estate of Elizabeth II invested millions of dollars in medical and consumer loan companies, the files show.
There is no suggestion the queen’s estate acted illegally.
Queen Noor of Jordan, Uganda Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa, Brazil Foreign Minister Campos Meirelles and Yuri Milner, a Russian billionaire investor with large stakes in Facebook and Twitter are also named.
While, in most cases, putting your money offshore and outside of your country’s financial regulations is legal, many argue hiding from the tax man is unfair.
The amount of money involved is huge with Boston Consulting Group estimating $10 trillion is held in these offshore financial centres.