Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull denied any suggestion of impropriety after his name appeared in the Panama Papers database as a former director of an offshore company incorporated by Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.
According to the records, Turnbull remained director of the company called the Star Technology Systems Limited in the 1990s. Turnbull’s business partner and former NSW Premiere Neville Wran was also listed in the register. Both Turnbull and Wran resigned as the directors of the company in September 1995.
Turnbull said there was no wrongdoing in his involvement with the company.
“There is nothing new there. The company concerned was a wholly owned subsidiary of a publicly listed Australian company,” the prime minister said, as quoted by the Business Standard. “The involvement is very, very well known.”
He added that “The company of which Neville Wran and I were directors was an Australian listed company and had it made any profits – which it did not regrettably – it certainly would have paid tax in Australia, but obviously you haven’t studied the accounts of the company concerned.”
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said that the prime minister needed to answer some very serious questions. “I think it is incumbent upon him to do so fully,” the ABC quoted him as saying. “I do not believe that what he said this morning is a full explanation.”
He added, “But, to be fair Mr. Turnbull should have the opportunity to answer the questions, to explain what he knows, what the extent of his involvement is, and I don’t intend to say any more until that happens.”
More than 11 million documents containing classified information on offshore companies were leaked from Mossack Fonseca in one of the biggest leaks in history. A part of the data was made accessible to the public on Monday. But the information on the Star Technology Systems Limited could only be accessed by journalists associated with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).