A massive data leak of files from offshore companies has exposed the secret financial dealings of billionaires, politicians and world leaders.

A total of 35 current and former leaders of countries around the world along with more than 300 public officials are implicated in the Pandora Papers data leak of almost 12 million files, one of the biggest of its kind.

More than 650 reporters took part in investigating the files with the examination the largest that the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has organised.

It is the latest in a string of leaks over the past seven years that include the Paradise Papers and Panama Papers.

More than 100 billionaires feature in the data that shows how wealthy and influential people used shell companies to buy and hold luxury items like yachts, art and property.

The full findings took more than 18 months of analysis and will be published over the coming days with individuals from more than 90 countries implicated.

There are also likely to be disclosures about major donations to the Conservative party as the revelations come out.

This comes as the Tory Party Conference kicked off on Sunday and will run until Wednesday.

One of the biggest findings from the leak shows how companies have been legally set up to buy property in the UK with the owners of around 95,000 offshore firms revealed.

It highlights the fact that the UK Government has failed to set up a register of offshore property owners, despite repeated promises. There are concerns that some property buyers may be hiding money-laundering activities.

The findings show that former prime minister Tony Blair and his wife saved £312,000 in stamp duty when they bought a £6.45m London townhouse for Cherie Blair to use as an office for her business.

The property was previously owned by an offshore firm. The Blair's bought the firm with a UK company in 2017 and then dissolved it and retained the property. There is no stamp duty for buying a company.

The leaks also found that the family of Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev have secretly been involved in UK property deals worth more than £400m.

They could prove to be embarrassing for the UK Government as the Aliyev family appear to have sold a London property to the Queen's Crown Estate for £67m, making a profit of £31m.

The Crown Estate is the royal family's property empire that is managed by the UK Treasury and raises money for the Exchequer.

The papers also reveal that the King of Jordan secretly built a £70m ($100m) property empire in the US and UK.

The documents show a network of firms secretly owned by Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein that bought 15 homes since he took power in 1999.

Lawyers for King Abdullah said he used his personal wealth to buy the homes.

The UK Government is one of Jordan's biggest financial backers with a commitment to provide £650m over five years in 2019.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been linked to secret assets in the microstate of Monaco and shows that the prime minister of the Czech Republic, Andrej Babis failed to declare an offshore investment company used to buy two villas in the south of France for £12m.

The Pandora Papers data leak consists of 2.94 terabytes of raw data with more than 6.4m documents, almost 3m images, more than 1.2m emails and almost 1.4m spreadsheets and other files.

The ICIJ believe that this investigation is "opening a box on a lot of things", owing to the choice of name of the leak as the Pandora Papers.

In-depth analysis of the investigation can be found on The Guardian website.

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