The Panama Papers shed light on Iran’s plans for self-sufficiency and Japan’s role in tech development.
(By Scilla Alecci, Alessia Cerantola, and Denise Hassanzade Ajiri for The Diplomat)
On February 5, 2004, during the 25th anniversary of the revolution that ousted the pro-American shah and brought Islamists to power, Iranian and Japanese corporate executives and government officials celebrated the beginning of a new business partnership in the South Pars gas field, the world’s largest.
Gathered in the port city of Assaluyeh, one of Iran’s industrial zones and the field’s “glittering jewel,” representatives from Iranian energy developer Petropars Ltd., Japan’s Toyo Engineering Corporation, and other partners threw coins into the foundations of the plant to inaugurate the project.
A few months before, Petropars had awarded a consortium of companies headed by Toyo Engineering a $1.2 billion contract to implement three of the nearly 30 development projects, or phases, of the South Pars gas field, which Iran shares with Qatar. The consortium was in charge of designing, constructing and providing commissioning services for a natural gas processing plant that would recover the gas from facilities located 105 km offshore.
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(By Scilla Alecci and Alessia Cerantola for The Diplomat)
April 15, 2016
In post-war Japan, Makoto Iida and Juichi Toda came to be known as the founding fathers of the country’s security industry. In 1962, the long-time friends and business partners created Secom Co., the first Japanese firm to provide security services to private and commercial properties.
Within a few years, the company played a key role in protecting athletic facilities during the 1964 Summer Olympic Games, which took place in Tokyo. Secom also became an important asset to the nation’s nuclear industry, securing nuclear power plants in collaboration with utilities such as Fukushima’s facility-operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company.
Iida and his partner Toda, who died in 2014, built Secom into the nation’s largest private security firm by market share, making it a hallmark of Japanese business. Today, the firm employs more than 53,000 people across 21 countries.
In the early 1990s, when Secom became the first officially sanctioned Japanese firm in China, Iida and Toda also created a complex system of Japanese private companies and offshore entities in tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands and Guernsey, in the English Channel, according to incorporation documents and private correspondence. The documents stated that the purpose of the shell firms was to distribute Secom stock holdings among Iida and Toda’s relatives ahead of their deaths.But a trove of secret records details how their friendship extended beyond the management of the company and their occasional drinking sessions.
The records are part of a larger cache of files – more than 11 million in all – that was obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and other media partners.
The documents show the inner workings of Mossack Fonseca & Co., a Panama-based law firm that specializes in building corporate structures that can be used to conceal assets. The leaked documents include emails, client records, and corporate filings from 1977 to 2015. The files, known collectively as the Panama Papers, contain information about 214,488 offshore entities connected to people in more than 200 countries and territories, including Japan.