by The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
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Former Zambia ambassador to the United States

Attan Shansonga

One offshore company was accused of looting the Zambian state

Related to  Zambia
Data from: Panama Papers
Attan Shansonga, ambassador of Zambia to the United States between 2000 and 2002, was arrested in the Zambian capital of Lusaka in 2002 amid an investigation into the diversion of millions of dollars out of Zambia when President Frederik Chiluba’s was in office. Shansonga fled Zambia in 2004 and, two years later, was accused by the Zambian government of receiving “misappropriated monies” and using offshore accounts to launder the loot. In 2007, an English civil court held that Shansonga served as a conduit for $1.3 million to President Chiluba's spy chief, who lavished state money on five-star hotels, Swiss watches, Hermes products and a visit to Legoland. Following the ruling, Zambia reportedly recovered "significant sums of money from him." Attempts by the Zambian government to extradite Shansonga have failed.

In the data

In 1998, Shansonga became a director of Starflight Ventures Limited, Stacey Investment Holdings Ltd and Debden Investments Limited. The activities of these companies were not revealed. In 2005, Mossack Fonseca received court documents because it was the agent for Hearnville Estates Ltd., a British Virgin Islands-based company named as one of 20 defendants, including Shansonga himself, in a corruption case that the Zambian government pursued in an English court. The company, incorporated in 1998, was allegedly used to purchase apartments in Lusaka with money looted from the Zambian state.

Response

Shansonga did not respond to repeated requests for comment prior to publication. Following publication, Shansonga communicated through a lawyer in Denmark. Shansonga said he was not in government until June 2000 and was therefore not required to declare interest in any business activity. Shansonga said he knows nothing about Hearnville Estate Limited. He also said matters involving him have been discontinued, that he never fled Zambia and that media reports are false. Shansonga was not accused of money laundering and the civil matter was appealed and settled, according to the statement conveyed by the lawyer.
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