Playtech Founder Teddy Sagi Is One of Many Public Figures Named in Panama Papers
Former Playtech CEO Teddy Sagi is the first gaming executive found to be in the Panama Papers. Some gaming media outlets have speculated that Amaya Gaming might have assets kept by Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the heart of the scandal, but that is unconfirmed. The fallout from the data leak is expected to take a while to happen, because of the sheer number of documents involved.
Three days ago, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists began releasing the “Panama Papers” in the Germany publication Suddeutsche Zeitung. There were approximately 11 million documents in the Panama Papers, which were obtained from a prominent law firm in Panama named Mossack Fonseca.
About Mossack Fonseca
Mossack Fonseca is one of many firms which is known to do business with “shell corporations“, which act as legitimate tax shelters for startups and illegitimate tax shelters for many offshore corporations. While there are plenty of legitimate reasons to have a shell company, when a person talks about the negative aspects of an offshore company, they often are talking about shell corporations.
In the case of the Panama Papers, it is becoming evident that Mossack Fonseca was a hub for bribery and corruption on a global level. Vladimir Putin’s cronies have been linked to the Panama Papers already. They are accused of running $2 billion through the Panamian corruption racket.
So was the Prime Minister of Iceland, who was forced to resign after it was learned he and his wife used shell corporations. They failed to report connections to corporations which won contracts from the Icelandic government, which is a clear conflict of interest. When protests in his homeland got too great, he was forced to resign.
Teddy Sagi’s 16 Corporations
Teddy Sagi, the founder of Playtech, is the first person associated with the gambling industry to be found in the Panama Papers. Israeli news source Haaretz reported Teddy Sagi has 16 different shell corporations through Mossack Fonseca.
The Irish Times reports that Ray Grehan, an Irish casino developer, did not report to the National Asset Management Agency that he was a one-fourth owner in a Dutch casino. He is thought to have made a 25% in the $50 million venture, but appears to have hidden his ties in order to avoid taxes.
David Baazov’s Troubles
CalvinAyre.com reported this week that resigned Amaya CEO and Chairman, David Baazov, may have assets in Mossack Fonseca. This is still a developing story, but CalvinAyre reports the revelation has ties to the insider trading scandal which forced Baazov to resign indefinitely from Amaya Gaming, the Montreal-based gaming company which owns PokerStars, FullTilt Poker, and Chartwell.
Zhapa Holdings and Amaya
The key revelation is the existence of Zhapa Holdings Inc, a British Virgin Islands business whose master client is listed as IMF Network. IMF Network is housed in Amaya’s home city of Montreal, Quebec.
Zhapa lists Goulissa Baazov among its shareholders. The Canadian newspaper, Globe & Mail, identified Goulissa Baazov as the sister of David and his older brother, Ofer Baazov. Ofer Baazov is more famously known as Josh Baazov, the older brother who had his trading privileges suspended by Quebecois trading regulator, the AMF.
Americans in the Panama Papers
More than one person has expressed conspiracy theories in the international press about the lack of Americans in the Panama Papers. These people have pointed out that the US strategic rivals have been the most embarrassed by the revelations, including Russia and Syria. More troublesome American economic and political allies like China and Pakistan have been implicated — states which many Americans view with ambivalence or antagonism.
Experts have advised U.S. readers not to expect to see too many Americans in the Panama Papers. The United States has much lower taxes than European countries and the states of Delaware and Nevada act as tax shelters for native Americans. Only an American wanting to avoid taxes altogether, hide wealth from spouses and family members, or conduct legitimate overseas business would put their money in Panama (most likely).
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