Slidstvo.Info Broadcasts Investigation of President Volodymyr Zelenskyi’s Offshore Banking
October 3 – Slidstvo.Info broadcast its investigative film “Offshore 95.” Slidstvo.Info journalists contend in “Offshore 95” that leaked documents show that President Volodymyr Zelenskyi had undisclosed shares in an offshore company that he secretly transferred to a friend just weeks before winning the presidential election in 2019. The document leak is part of the Pandora Papers, which show 35 current or former world leaders and more than 300 other public officials around the globe who have held assets in or through tax havens.
The Pandora Papers are comprised of 11.9 million files — consisting of everything from emails to bank statements, incorporation documents, and shareholder registries — from 14 firms that provide offshore services. The files were leaked by a confidential source to the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). ICIJ shared the Zelenskyi files with Slidstvo.Info as part of the global investigation, according to The Guardian. Slidstvo.Info’s film screening in Kyiv was placed in jeopardy when Oleksiy Prasol, the director of the venue chosen for the premiere, the Small Opera at 5A Dehtyarivska St., canceled the screening just five hours prior to the showing “due to problems with electricity.” After Slidstvo.Info published this information on Facebook, they received multiple suggestions of alternative venues, but Prasol went ahead with the screening for 250 people, with more than 190,000 watching the film on YouTube as of the morning of October 4, 2021.
The Institute of Mass Information monitored top Ukrainian online media to assess how they covered Slidstvo.info’s investigation. TSN.ua, Segodnya.ua, UNIAN.info, Ukrinform.ua and RBC.ua did not cover it at all. RBC mentioned the Pandora Papers investigation in relation to the leaders of other countries that were featured in the Pandora Papers. UNIAN.info and Ukrinform.ua published a comment by Mykhailo Podoliak (adviser to the chief of staff of the Office of the President). Podoliak said that “the information is not new and had been commented on before, in 2019.” According to IMI experts, TSN.ua, UNIAN.info and Segodnya.ua did not mention the investigation due to the editorial policies of their owners (Ihor Kolomoyskyi and Rinat Akhmetov, respectively).
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