Nigeria’s former senate president, David Mark, has been linked to some hidden assets in the ongoing Panama Papers leakages that have revealed the assets of the rich and famous across the world.
Mark was associated with running eight offshore companies registered on the British Virgin Island. His ex-wife, Vikky Preye Mark, is also listed as owning shell accounts.
Mark who was re-elected for a fifth time to represent Benue South Constituency in the senate was named in files belonging to Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca.
The companies associated with Mark are: Sikera Overseas S.A, Colsan Enterprises Limited, Goldwin Transworld Limited, Hartland Estates Limited, Marlin Holdings Limited, Medley Holdings Limited, Quetta Properties Limited and Centenary Holdings Limited.
In the documents, Mark is repeatedly marked as a politically exposed person. At a point, the former Senate President sent documents, across to Mosseca Fonseca to prove that he was clean.
The businesses Mark is conducting with the companies could not be ascertained.
Online newspaper Premium Times quoted a previous investigation it conducted as showing that Mark’s estranged wife, Vikky Preye Mark, was also exposed as an operator of secret offshore accounts.
Mrs. Mark operated an account with the Swiss branch of HSBC, but with details made largely secret.
Although she was known within the bank as the beneficial owner of the account, she was largely identified with a secret code – 14312MP.
Mrs. Mark opened the account on December 18, 1989 and closed it on July 12, 1991. About that time, her husband, then a top ranking army officer, had served as military administrator of Niger State and minister of Communications.
Court papers during a messy divorce with his wife suggested that some of Mark’s children schooled in Switzerland, but it is not clear whether it was during that period that Mrs. Mark operated the HSBC account.
Mossack Fonseca, the firm representing Mark and others is reputed as one of the most secretive companies in the world, that has helped clients to register offshore entities, some of which are then used to launder money, evade tax and dodge sanctions.
Senate President Bukola Saraki’s wife, former Delta State Governor James Ibori, Saraki’s brother Laolu, his associates Obi Asika and Olufela Ibidapo, have also been named as running shell companies that are listed in what is known as the Panama Papers.
The global scandal claimed Iceland Prime Minister’s job yesterday following pressure from the citizens.
In Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron, whose dad Ian was named, denied having anything to do with the Panama Papers. But the opposition Labour Party called for an independent inquiry.
The revelations are among the findings of a lengthy investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and more than 100 other global news organisations.