Carriages from the cable car that runs over the river Thames pass in front of Canary Wharf and London's financial district in London, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
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As well as shining a spotlight on the secret financial arrangements of the rich and powerful, the so-called Panama Papers have laid bare London's role as a vital organ of the world's tax-haven network. The files leaked from Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca exposed Britain's link to thousands of firms based in tax havens and how secret money is invested in British assets, particularly London property.Around 310,000 tax haven companies own an estimated 170 billion pounds ($240 billion) of British real estate, 10 percent of which were linked to Mossack Fonseca.The files appeared to show that the United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan owned London properties worth more than 1.2 billion pounds and that Mariam Safdar, daughter of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, was the beneficial owner of two offshore companies that owned flats on the exclusive Park Lane.London's reputation as the "capital of funny money" – so-called by Jenkins – is closely related to its legitimate attraction as a financial center, with its light-touch regulation, laissez-faire attitude toward wealth, vibrant culture and history of global trading, Shaxson said.
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