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Pandora Papers: Morocco King Mohammed VI's sister used shell company

Princess Lalla and disgraced French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn were among those with ties to Rabat named in the leaks
Princess Lalla Hasna of Morocco attends the inauguration of an exhibition at the capital Rabat's Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art on 9 April 2019 (AFP)

Newly leaked financial documents have revealed the questionable financial dealings of several prominent figures with ties to Morocco, including the sister of King Mohammed VI and disgraced French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

The Pandora Papers, a trove of 11.9 million files made public over the weekend by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), unveiled Princess Lalla Hasnaa's ownership of a shell company in the British Virgin Islands, a notorious tax haven.

Hasnaa, who heads the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection, has reportedly used the shell company to purchase a home in the United Kingdom worth an estimated $11m using funds listed as belonging to the "Moroccan Royal Family".

Mohammed VI is the richest monarch in Africa, with an estimated net worth of $5.7bn. In 2010, Wikileaks documents alleged that the king and his entourage were involved in corruption deemed widespread "at all levels of Moroccan society".

Strauss-Kahn, once expected to become a frontrunner candidate for the French presidency before he was accused of sexual assault in 2011 and stepped down from his position as International Monetary Fund managing director, was meanwhile listed as having established an economic consulting firm in Morocco following his political downfall.

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The company, Parnasse International Sarlau, reportedly took in millions of dollars in earnings, much of it tax-free according to the Pandora Papers. He established another consulting firm in 2018, this time based in the United Arab Emirates after tax exemptions for his other company lapsed in Morocco.

Strauss-Kahn also reportedly advised Rabat officials on how to create a low-tax business hub in Casablanca. The ICIJ said both Hasnaa and Strauss-Kahn did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

The Pandora Papers are the latest in a series of mass leaks in recent years revealing countless world leaders' and business tycoons' use of offshore accounts and shell companies to evade taxation or otherwise obscure the scope of their wealth.

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