Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull denied any wrongdoing after becoming yet another world leader named in the Panama Papers for his involvement as the former director of a British Virgin Islands company in the 1990’s, according to the Australian Financial ;Review.
Turnbull along with a former New South Wales State premier Neville Wran joined the board of the Australian-listed company Star Mining NL in 1993. The company hoped to develop a US$14.67 billion Siberian gold mine.
Turnbull and Wran were then appointed as directors of Star Technology Services, a subsidiary of Star Mining in the British Virgin Islands which had been incorporated by Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm at the center of the Panama Papers scandal.
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Turnbull was quick to brush off the allegations, "There is no suggestion of any impropriety whatsoever. There is nothing new there ... The company of which Neville Wran and I were directors was an Australian listed company and had it made any profits – which it did not, regrettably – it certainly would have paid taxes in Australia," Turnbull said to reporters according to Reuters.
The details are included in documents obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists known as the Panama Papers but are not part of the publicly searchable database. Offshore companies are not illegal, but are often used to evade taxes.
Turnbull, a former investment banker and technology entrepreneur, is campaigning ahead of a general election on July 2, with his ruling Liberal-National coalition in a virtual tie with the main opposition party.
At least 140 politicians from more than 50 countries are linked to offshore companies. Among those named in the papers are Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, Argentine President Mauricio Macri, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al Saud, and actress Emma Watson.