by The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
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Former prime minister of Georgia

Bidzina Ivanishvili

British Virgin Island authorities wanted information on the offshore company

Related to  Georgia
Data from: Panama Papers
Although he served barely 13 months as prime minister, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili left an indelible mark on Georgia history. After 20 years in Russia, where he made a fortune in the metals and banking industries, Ivanishvili returned to Georgia in 2003 and became known as a reclusive philanthropist and collector of fine art and exotic animals. In 2011, he turned his growing displeasure with the government into political activism. He ultimately led a coalition called the Georgian Dream to a stunning victory in the 2012 parliamentary election and took the job of prime minister. Ivanishvili resigned voluntarily after his party won the 2013 presidential election but continued to wield power behind the scenes. In March 2016, lawyers acting on behalf of Ivanishvili filed a complaint with Geneva prosecutors against Credit Suisse Group AG after Ivanishvili alleged he was victim of fraud by a former employee of Credit Suisse.

In the data

Bidzina Ivanishvili was owner of Lynden Management Ltd., a company based in the British Virgin Islands. In 2011, the BVI Financial Investigation Agency asked Mossack Fonseca for information about the company's ownership and activities. Mossack Fonseca's Singapore office confirmed then that Ivanishvili was a beneficiary of a trust set up by Credit Suisse, and Lynden Management's activity was to hold assets. Two years later, Mossack Fonseca BVI identified Ivanishvili as a Politically Exposed Person and asked its Singapore office for documents proving Ivanishvili's identity and the source of funds for Lynden Management. Singapore was unable to obtain them and later asked if their client, Credit Suisse, could instead "carry out reduced due diligence" on Lynden Management as the bank was "a regulated trust company" and had "many companies with Mossack."

Response

A Swiss law firm representing Ivanishvili said that he is "willing to be transparent" about his use of offshore companies and that banks like Credit Suisse "systematically" propose offshore companies to their clients though it may not serve the client's interest.
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