Panama papers: 880 companies and 22 beneficiaries in Estonia, but no news yet (6)
ICIJ, the consortium that published the Panama Papers, has no members in Estonia, which may be one of the reasons why no details about Mossack Fonseca’s connections to Estonia have made it into the press. Still, journalist Anvar Samost is surprised about the silence.
Anvar Samost, the former director of Postimees and the Baltic News Service, said on ETV’s “Aktuaalne Kaamera” on Thursday 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) published a global map on its website that indicated the number of connections of Mossack Fonseca in different countries. For Estonia, the site lists seven clients, 22 beneficiaries, 80 shareholders, and 880 companies on file.
Although that may seem like a small number compared to that of other countries, it should be kept in mind that Estonia is a small market, and that just a small number of connections could mean the involvement of rather influential people.
Asked about the numbers related to Estonia, Samost said 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,” he said.
Commenting on the 16,000 records connected to Latvia, Samost agreed that they likely wouldn’t shake up the Latvian populace very much. Ragnar Kond, ERR’s correspondent in Valga, had made a statement to the effect earlier.
Although he didn’t want to speculate why there were so many more connections to Latvia than to Estonia, Samost opined that the business cultures of the two countries weren’t all that different.
“Over the last years we’ve had confirmation that our business culture and political culture isn’t all that different from Latvia’s, as we liked to think for many years,” Samost said, pointing to cases like the Port of Tallinn corruption scandal and the ongoing investigation of Center Party chairman Edgar Savisaar.