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Belgium in Brief: 1,217 Belgians and Pandora’s Box

Credit: Belga/Unsplash/Pixabay

Despite a number of measures to combat constructions in tax shelters, people – including at least 1,217 Belgians – continue to use them.

This was shown by the ‘Pandora Papers’, a new investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on documents leaked from 14 offices that set of these constructions in tax shelters.

With more than 11.9 million files on letterbox companies in notorious tax havens and reportedly 2.94 terabytes of confidential data, the documents opened a Pandora’s box.

According to the media involved in the case, at least 35 current and former world leaders feature in the investigation, as well as famous pop singer Shakira, pop legend Elton John and ex-model Claudia Schiffer.

The names of the Belgians on the list were not revealed, but it reportedly includes a crime writer, a surgeon, a professor, a mental coach, the owner of an investment guide, a Brussels rapper, a former first-class football player, a radio host, the manager of a gambling company, a convicted hashish dealer and even a young bitcoin millionaire.

A more thorough explanation of the ‘Pandora Papers’ can be found here.

What do you think? Let @johnstonjules know (or @maithechini, as she wrote it today) 

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Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your lunch break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:

1. More than 1,200 Belgians identified in Pandora Papers

No fewer than 1,271 Belgian names have been uncovered in the so-called Pandora Papers, the latest collection of documents relating to worldwide use of tax shelters. Read more.

2. First anti-Covid pill halves risk of hospitalisation or death, study shows

American pharmaceutical company Merck, known in Europe as MSD, developed a pill against the coronavirus, with results showing that subjects who had Covid-19 and took the pill were 50% less likely to die or end up in hospital. Read more.

3. Pandemic law comes into force today, but will not be applied

Belgium’s much-discussed pandemic law officially comes into force today, but the law appears unlikely to be put into practice in the course of the current Covid-19 pandemic. Read More.

4. World’s largest coffee stock is in the Port of Antwerp

Friday was International Coffee Day, and it’s a safe bet quite a few cups were sunk in the offices of Molenbergnatie, a huge warehouse in the Port of Antwerp. Read More.

5. Privacy group calls on Belgium to stop trying to snoop on private communications

A worldwide umbrella group of privacy campaigners has issued a call to the Belgian government to abandon plans to try to access encrypted messages on popular messaging apps. Read more.

6. Government paid €20 million for Covid tests never carried out

The government in the past year paid out some €20 million for Covid-19 tests that were never carried out, according to reports in Belgian media. Read more.

7. Belgian Crown Princess Elisabeth starts studies at Oxford University

As she passed the entrance exams, Princess Elisabeth (19) will study ‘History & Politics,’ a course that will take three years, the palace shared on social media, alongside a series of photos of Elisabeth’s first contacts with the city and the university. Read more.

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