Tag Archives: Panama Papers

Argentina probes ties between ex-presidents, Miami real estate empire


Offshore corporations have one main purpose – to create anonymity. Recently leaked documents reveal that some of these shell companies, cloaked in secrecy, provide cover for dictators, politicians and tax evaders. Sohail Al-Jamea and Ali Rizvi McClatchy

Where did a mystery man from Argentina get nearly $65 million to spend on ultra-luxury Miami condos, New York apartments and South Florida strip malls?

That’s what Argentine prosecutors want to know, especially because Sergio Todisco doesn’t seem to have a fortune of his own — and because he once acted as an offshore corporate front-man for a top aide to former president Néstor Kirchner.

The controversy again shows how Miami’s gleaming condos attract secret and potentially illicit money from around the world.

Between 2010 and 2015, Florida companies registered in the names of Todisco and his now ex-wife, Elizabeth Ortiz Municoy, a real estate agent in Miami and Buenos Aires, spent about $21 million on luxury condos at some of South Florida’s best-known towers, including Icon Brickell, St. Regis, Turnberry Ocean Colony, Apogee Beach and 900 Biscayne. The crown jewel was a $10.7 million, four-bedroom unit at the Regalia in Sunny Isles Beach. The companies later sold most of the units.

Other companies that listed Todisco and Municoy as officers invested $30 million in South Florida bank branches and a pharmacy, as well as a $13 million unit at Manhattan’s stately Plaza Hotel.

Only two of the transactions involved mortgages, according to public records, meaning the other deals were likely for cash.

In Argentina, major corruption investigations are swirling around ex-president Kirchner, who died in 2010, and his wife, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who subsequently became president. Now, an Argentine federal prosecutor has opened an inquiry to determine if Todisco and Municoy were laundering money for Kirchner associates — or even the Kirchners themselves, although they’re not yet an official target of the investigation.

At the very least, there’s compelling evidence that Todisco and Municoy were buying properties for people who wanted to keep their identities hidden.

“The tax position of Todisco and Municoy revealed by documents obtained [by the prosecutor’s office] makes it impossible to associate them with the million-dollar transactions carried out abroad,” reads a complaint filed as part of the investigation into the Todisco affair.

Here’s why Argentine law enforcement is so suspicious: At the same time Todisco was snapping up luxe Miami condos, he acted as the director of Gold Black Limited, an offshore company based in the British Virgin Islands. Gold Black’s stated purpose was “real estate investment” in the United States, according to documents in the massive leak of confidential offshore files known as the Panama Papers.

The company’s owners? Néstor Kirchner’s personal secretary and close friend, Héctor Daniel Muñoz, who died of cancer earlier this year, and Muñoz’s wife, Carolina Pochetti.

A lawyer for Fernández de Kirchner did not respond to questions and Pochetti could not be reached.

The president’s shadow

Muñoz had been a debt collector at the Kirchners’ law firm before they came to power.

During his time in government, he served as Kirchner’s “body man,” a sort of valet and jack-of-all-trades who answered the president’s phone, handled his medication and stayed by his side when he was hospitalized. Kirchner affectionately called him el gordo (“fatty”) and, according to a press account, once slapped him during an argument. The pair was also fond of play-wrestling. When Kirchner couldn’t sleep, he would wake up his friend to keep him company.

Here are all the notable people we’ve found in the Panama Papers so far

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) published a huge database on Monday detailing how some of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful people legally hide their cash — dubbed the “Panama Papers.”

The database consists of more than 200,000 companies, trusts, foundations, and funds incorporated in 21 countries and countless names of the wealthy people who shelter their cash there.

The findings of the so-called Panama Papers investigation were first unveiled at the beginning of April.

Over 11 million documents held by the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca had been leaked to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. The paper shared the information with the ICIJ, which is made up of 107 media organizations in 78 countries.

The global news outlets examined 28,000 pages of documents, also revealing the full scale of the tax breaks won by 340 companies. The ICIJ published this statement on its website along with the documents:

There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts. We do not intend to suggest or imply that any persons, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly.

Business Insider scanned the database, which includes data both from the Panama Papers and a 2013 report called “Offshore Leaks,” for newsworthy or prominent people or organizations in the worlds of finance, politics, technology, and others.

We have taken a spider map for the individual’s holdings as an example. Each green dot represents an offshore entity with associations to the individual:

This post is being updated as new information is available.

  • Janie and Victor Tsao, the Taiwanese founders of data-networking company Linksys, had multiple entries in the Panama Papers for a joint trust and individually.

  • Raj Rajaratnam, the billionaire founder of hedge fund Galleon Group, was found in the database. Rajaratnam was sentenced to an 11-year prison sentence in 2011 on nine counts of securities fraud and five counts of conspiracy.

  • The Trustees of Columbia University appear in the database, linked to a corporation in the Cayman Islands. The university has an endowment of over $9.5 billion.

  • New York University School of Medicine appears in the database as the “master client” of several offshore entities.

  • Tiger Global, a New York-based hedge fund, is named in the database.

  • Charles Xue, a Chinese-American investor and social-media commentator, was named in the database. Xue was arrested in 2013 in China on suspicion of soliciting prostitutes in a case many saw as retaliation for his outspoken persona online.

  • Christian Gunnar Sachs, son of photographer and art collector Gunter Sachs, was revealed in the initial Panama Papers leaks to have set up offshore trusts.

  • Neil Gaitely is listed as the owner of Tamalaris Consolidated, which was reported to be a front for an Iranian state-controlled shipping line.

  • Eugene Kashper, entrepreneur and CEO of Pabst Brewing Co., was found in the database.

  • Sanjay Sethi, the owner of San Vision Technologies was found in the database. Sethi plead guilty to conspiring to defraud the US by hiding nearly $5 million from the IRS in 2013.

  • Leonard Gotshalk, former NFL player for the Atlanta Falcons who was later indicted on charges of tech-company stock manipulation.

Will be updated and sourced from – http://www.businessinsider.com/notable-people-named-in-panama-papers-2016-5