Panama Papers: 7 sports stars who hid their money

It's not really a surprise that Messi is on the list. But a few of the others are.

Meryl D'Souza April 10, 2016

For those of you who still don’t know, the Panama Papers are a 2.6-terabyte leak of data by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which is the fourth largest law firm in the world for offshore services to the world’s wealthy.

Firms like Mossack Fonseca establish shell companies in tax haven states around the world, which also serve to grant their owners relative anonymity in their dealings. 

Be it world leaders, celebrities or athletes, the initial list has ensured no one is safe. With the complete list to be released in the first week of May, we look at some of the biggest sporting names on the list… so far.

Lionel Messi


The fact that his name appears in the Panama Papers doesn’t help Messi one bit. Already accused of duping Spain’s tax office of $4.4 million in unpaid taxes, Messi and his father are said to be owners of a Panama company: Mega Star Enterprises Inc.

Nico Rosberg

F1 driver

The German’s contract with Mercedes was made with a British Virgin Islands company called Ambitious Group Limited.



The Chelsea midfielder was the only shareholder in a British Virgin Islands company called Saxon Sponsoring Limited that was setup in September 2013. Incidentally, he joined The Blues in August 2013. Make of that what you will. 

Leonardo Ulloa


He may be on course to lift the Premier League title with Leicester City, but the Argentine is  smack in the middle of the controversy for signing over his image rights to Jump Drive Sport LLC in 2008 – a company based in Samoa whose director and shareholder aren't real people.

Michel Platini

Former president of UEFA

Already banned from the sport for six years due to a questionable and unaccounted for $2 million payment from FIFA in 2011, the Frenchman is believed to have relied on Mossack Fonseca to help him administer an offshore company created in Panama in 2007, the same year he was named president of UEFA, the European soccer association.

Andy Cole

Former footballer

The former Newcastle and Manchester United striker allegedly used a firm called Crewzen Finance Limited to buy a house in Nottingham for £84,000 in 2009.

Sir Nick Faldo

Former golfer

Two years after he turned pro, a company called Blenhim Road Ltd was set up in the British Virgin Islands in 1995. Sir Nick Faldo was the only shareholder of that company. Intriguingly, the company shut down in 2009, coinciding with Faldo’s downward trajectory in form.