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Several current and former world leaders, and public officials were named in the project.

After being named among top leaders, public officials and celebrites who used offshore shell companies to hide funds, former governor of Anambra State Peter Obi has broken his silence. 

Obi denied any wrongdoing following revelations from the Pandora Papers project coordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). 

The project saw 600 journalists from 150 news organisations around the world poring through a trove of 11.9 million confidential files, contextualising information, tracking down sources and analysing public records and other documents. 

Several current and former world leaders, and public officials were named in the project. In 2010, Mr Obi set up Gabriella Investments Limited, a company named after his daughter, in the British Virgin Island. 

Mr Obi told Premium Times that he did not declare companies and the funds and property he jointly owns with his family members or anyone else in his asset declaration filings with the Code of Conduct Bureau because he was unaware that the law required him to do so. 

I don’t declare what is owned with others,” he said. “If my family owns something I won’t declare it. I didn’t declare anything I jointly owed with anyone.”

The online newspaper claimed that the project revealed Obi approached Acces International, a French company, to help him incorporate an offshore entity. 

On the day the company was incorporated, about 50,000 shares of Gabriella Investment were issued in favour of Hill International Holding Corporation, a shell International Business Company operating under the laws of Belize. 

Obi said the offshore entity is the holding company for most of his assets and that the business structure he adapted was to enable him to avoid excessive taxation. “I am sure you too will not like to pay inheritance tax if you can avoid it,” he said. 

Obi later renamed Gabriella Investment in 2017 to PMGG Investments Limited. 

The former vice-presidential candidate said that British Lloyds Bank’s advice informed his offshore structure decision. 

Asked if he is concerned that Nigerians would be disappointed at him following the findings, Obi said he was more concerned about his UK and US schools alumni network, his business and foreign creditors. 

He insisted that he served well as Anambra governor and Nigerians already have their opinions about him.

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