'Panama Papers' reveal Abbas's son has $1m in offshore company

#PanamaPapers

Tareq Abbas was added to the board of directors of the Arab Palestinian Investment Company in 2011

The 'Panama Papers' is the largest document leak in history (AFP)
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Friday 8 April 2016 8:29 UTC
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The son of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has $1m in shares in an offshore company associated with the PA, a trove of leaked documents known as the “Panama Papers” reveal.

Tareq Abbas was added to the board of directors of the Arab Palestinian Investment Company (APIC) in 2011. As recently as June 2013, Tareq had $982,000 worth of shares in the company.

In a Haaretz report detailing APIC, the company was registered in the British Virgin Islands in September 1994.

Abbas’ position at APIC calls into question potential conflicts of interest. International law requires that firms like Mossack Fonseca have to check if clients are “politically exposed persons” (PEP) – or family members of government officials and business associates. By law, firms must closely monitor PEPs for money laundering, tax evasion or other corruption offences.

The leaked documents indicate that an internal Mossack Fonseca investigation into whether Abbas was a PEP incorrectly concluded that he was not the son of PA president. However, a Google search was used for a portion of the investigation, and some results suggested that the person was indeed the PA chairman’s son.

Foreign Policy published a story in June 2012 about assets belonging to Abbas' sons (Tareq and his older brother Yasser) and called into question their financial success in connection to their father’s political position.

APIC attorney Kareem Shehadeh told Haaretz, “APIC is a publicly listed company in Palestine whose shares are traded daily on the stock exchange. It is subject to oversight by the renowned Deloitte accounting and auditing firm, and complete and transparent details of its dealings appear in an annual report that appears on its website. APIC’s operations are supervised by the Ministry of Commerce and the Palestine Capital Market Authority.”

Another source told Haaretz that “Tareq Abbas is a salaried employee at APIC, from this dates from before the time his father became the Palestinian Authority’s president. As far as I know, he has no involvement with the investment fund or the Palestinian Authority. Khaled Osseili is a private Hebron businessman who has served on the board of APIC since its inception, before and after he was elected Hebron’s mayor. Again, as far as I know, he was never a senior official at the Palestinian Authority. Durgham Maraee and Mohammad Mustafa are also on the APIC board, as representatives of the Palestinian Investment Fund.”