You may have heard about the Pandora Papers this weekend. It's among the biggest leaks in history - "almost 12 million documents and files exposing the secret wealth and dealings of world leaders, politicians and billionaires" - all hidden away in offshore companies The mother lode of data "was obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in Washington DC and and has led to a far-reaching global investigation into the Offshore Banking Sector - shaking up a lot of politicians and oligarchs in other countries. But - none of the local big names here were seriously implicated - the only vibrations in Belize came for the secretive offshore sector.
First, here's what the Pandora Papers are - we have a clip from an outline by the Washington Post:
But the Pandora Papers don't just focus on Belize - they zone in on one big name attorney and former government Minister and ultimate PUP insider, Glenn D Godfrey. Here - in brief - is a sketch of the findings about his law practice and its dealing with offshore companies:
And while ICIJ says Godfrey did not respond to their request for a comment - Godfrey had a whole lot to say today. He issued one statement through a third party this morning and then sent out this statement this evening - saying they have defamed his law practice:
Glenn D Godfrey, Attorney
"Most recently, a news report from International Consortium of Investigative Journalists surfaced called the Pandora Papers. That report seeks to question our firm's integrity and good standing. The report while not imputing any criminality to us, sought to affiliate my person and my firm with an alleged murderer and other unsavory characters, including one Robert Durst. The individual referred to in this piece is apparently one, Robert Durst."
"We have written to the Journalist Consortium seeking a complete retraction of all its reference and report in relation to my person and Glenn D. Godfrey as a legal firm. The report is seriously defamatory and has caused irreparable damage to my person and legal firm's reputation and a consequent decrease in clientele."
"Should the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists refuse to accede to our demand, we will seek legal redress."
"We maintain that our firm never had as client the individual in question. Our legal engagement was with a legal firm which represented the individual. Our due diligence was completed to ensure that we never served the client in that capacity alleged by the media report in question."
Another statement from Godfrey says "all the persons mentioned in the report have long since ceased to be clients of our firm." End quote.
We note that more than 600 journalists from 117 countries worked on this ICIJ project.