The documents known as the Panama Papers is now the biggest leak in history surpassing the event in 2010 when data was revealed by the Wikileaks organization. The comparison between the two events can be seen if the measure of information revealed by Wikileaks is proportionate to the number of inhabitants in San Francisco, then the measure of information revealed in the Panama Papers is the equal to that of India.
What are the Panama Papers?
These records demonstrate how Mossack Fonseca clients were able to use banks and offshore companies to launder money, doge sanctions and evade taxation. One of the documents revealed that the law firm knowingly breached international regulations by offering an American millionaire fake ownership to conceal cash from the authorities that are specifically set out to prevent money laundering and tax evasion.
Who is in the papers?
There are connections to 12 present or previous heads of state and government in the files which include rulers that are being accused stealing money from their own country. More than 60 relatives and partners of heads of state and different government officials are also involved in the scandal.
The files also reveal a suspected billion-dollar money laundering ring involving close associates of Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin. One the associates of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin were also implicated in some of the documents that revealed a billion-dollar ($2 billion) that has been shuffled around in various banks and secretive companies.
Also mentioned are:
- The brother-in-law of China’s President Xi Jinping
- Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko
- Argentina President Mauricio Macri
- The late father of UK Prime Minister David Cameron
- Three of the four children of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
- Iceland’s Prime Minister, Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson who is now facing expected to resign from his post due to having undeclared interest connected to his wife’s wealth
The documents also shed light on key members of FIFA’s ethics committee. Uruguayan lawyer Juan Pedro Damiani and his firm provided legal assistance for seven offshore companies that are connected to a former FIFA vice president that had been charged U.S. authorities for laundering money and being associated in the bribery allegations.
It was also revealed that more than 500 banks were registered with around 15,600 shell companies with Mossack Fonseca. Loan specialists have denied affirmations that they are helping clients to evade taxation by utilizing comprehensive offshore measures.
How do tax havens work?
Panama is one of the best and most popular tax havens in the Caribbean and is being exploited by people in order to hide their true ownership of the money so that they cannot be charged tax on their money or any other assets.
The main root cause of this scandal are shell companies that appear to the general public and that they are a legitimate business, however they are actually just empty shells with the sole purpose to hide their clients’ money instead of managing it.
What do those involved have to say?
Mossack Fonseca Has spoken out that they have never been accused, charged or associated with criminal activities for as long as they have been operating (for 40 years).
In regards to Putin’s close allies being involved, Mr. Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said that there are many people in organizations or journalists that are trying to discredit Putin and the countries leadership. He also added that the leak of the documents could potentially be former employees of the State Department, the CIA, and other security administrations.
The international body of soccer, FIFA has currently put Mr. Damiani under investigation. Mr. Damiani has claimed that he severed relations with the FIFA member once he was accused of all the allegations of corruption.
Who leaked the Panama Papers?
The 11.5 million confidential files were obtained by German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
The project incorporated a group of more than 107 journalists from more than 76 nations in order to help dissect all the documents for the past year.
More than 214,000 entities (including companies, trusts and foundations) confidential details were leaked. The information in the document is from December last year to all the way back to 1977. Majority of the content leaked in the files are emails, however images of contract and passports were also exposed.