Gambian business tycoon Amadou Samba has rebutted reports that he has nearly a billion dollars stashed in tax heavens, as seen in the Panama Papers.
Samba admitted that all the companies listed were registered in his holding company’s name, said Economist Sidi Sanneh, but stressed the fact that they were companies and not bank accounts.
“Operating off-shore accounts and or companies in and of themselves may not be illegal unless the origin or origins of the funds are derived from illegal activities such as arms trafficking, drugs or other forms of international criminal activities,” Sanneh said.
Mr. Samba, a close business associated to defeated Gambian President Yahya Jammeh may have operated his companies offshore in tax heavens as a smart business decision to evade high taxes in the UK.
British authorities started a crackdown on tax evaders forcing businessmen like Mr. Samba to cease operating offshore companies.
At least three companies are registered to Samba in the Panama Papers. Financial transactions of such companies are hard to trace and Sanneh says the legal hurdles are insurmountable even for forensic accountants.
Samba says the total is higher than the turnover of the three companies and denies the amount quoted in the papers.