Panama Papers show Abbas’s son has $1 million in PA-linked equity firm

(JTA) – Tareq Abbas, the son of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, holds $1 million US worth of shares in a Palestinian investment company with ties to the PA, the “Panama Papers” data leak revealed.

The Arab Palestinian Investment Company, or APIC, launched in 1995, is today a major financial player in the Palestinian economy, with involvement in the food, medical and automobile industries as well as public relations and a host of shopping centers.

Abbas’s son Tareq was appointed to the board in 2011, a fact that was public knowledge. However, his personal investment in the company – $982,000 US as of September 2015 — had not been known, Haaretz reported Thursday based on the data leak.

The revelation came from documents leaked this week,  that provided details on the offshore holdings of a dozen current and former world leaders, as well as businessmen, criminals, celebrities and sports stars.

The PA does not directly hold shares in APIC, but the Palestinian Investment Fund, which has close ties to the PA, holds 18 per cent of its stocks, Haaretz reported. APIC’s board of directors has historically featured members with close ties to the head of the PA – previously Yasser Arafat and now Mahmoud Abbas.

The leak of 11.5 million documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca has caused scandals throughout the world. These have so far brought down the leader of Iceland and raised questions about the dealings of the presidents of Argentina and Ukraine, senior Chinese politicians and famous actors.

Israel has launched a probe into 600 Israeli companies and 850 Israeli shareholders who were listed in documents leaked from Mossack Fonseca.

Among the Israeli names found in the leaked documents are those of top attorney Dov Weisglass, former bureau chief of the late prime minister Ariel Sharon; Jacob Engel, a businessman active in the African mining industry; and Idan Ofer, a member of one of Israel’s wealthiest families, according to Haaretz.

Appearing in the documents does not necessarily imply wrongdoing, but in some cases proves offshore holdings and use of tax havens.

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