‘Panama Papers’ Demonstrates Global Wealth Corruption

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Above Photo: The Panama Papers is one of the biggest leaks and largest collaborative investigations in journalism history. (Photo: Screenshot)

Historic Leak Of 11.5 Million Documents Involving 214,000 Shell Companies Implicates World Leaders and Giant Corporations

An anonymous source, an enormous cache of leaked documents, and a year-long investigative effort by around 400 journalists from more than 100 media organizations in over 80 countries have yielded the Panama Papers, an unprecedented look at how the world’s rich and powerful, from political leaders to celebrities to criminals, use tax havens to hide their wealth.

The investigation went live on Sunday afternoon.

German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote:

Over a year ago, an anonymous source contacted the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) and submitted encrypted internal documents from Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm that sells anonymous offshore companies around the world. These shell firms enable their owners to cover up their business dealings, no matter how shady.

In the months that followed, the number of documents continued to grow far beyond the original leak. Ultimately, SZ acquired about 2.6 terabytes of data, making the leak the biggest that journalists had ever worked with. The source wanted neither financial compensation nor anything else in return, apart from a few security measures.

The data provides rare insights into a world that can only exist in the shadows. It proves how a global industry led by major banks, legal firms, and asset management companies secretly manages the estates of the world’s rich and famous: from politicians, Fifa officials, fraudsters and drug smugglers, to celebrities and professional athletes.

“These findings show how deeply ingrained harmful practices and criminality are in the offshore world,” said Gabriel Zucman, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley and author of The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens. Zucman, who was briefed on the media partners’ investigation, said the release of the leaked documents should prompt governments to seek “concrete sanctions” against jurisdictions and institutions that peddle offshore secrecy.

Fusion dubbed it “the WikiLeaks of the mega-rich.”

In a statement on Sunday, international anti-corruption organization Global Witness said the exposé had “once again shown the insidious role that tax havens, corporate secrecy and shell companies play in aiding widespread crime, corruption, and violence. These threaten the safety, security and well-being of people around the world.” The group pointed out that “despite stereotypes portraying the problem of tax havens and shell companies as an ‘offshore’ problem, this is a big and homegrown issue in the U.S. as well.” To that end, Global Witness will join faith leaders, small business owners, voices from law enforcement, and other community activists from over 25 states in Washington, D.C. from April 11-13 to call on Congress to pass legislation that would end anonymous companies. The hashtag #PanamaPapers was trending on Twitter:

  • Tony Buontempo

    It is time for Federal Laws in the US that require ALL overseas investments of any type to be public and registered with the Department of Treasury, which must make them accessible to any and all who want to review any record.

    Banking must be done in the Sunshine. Any nation that does not require all its banking records be made public should not be allowed to do business in the US, with any US company, or with any entity doing business with a US company, local or state governments.

    The wealthy must be brought under worker, government, and community control. Enough. It seems with wealth equates to crime with it is left in public hands. Only personal wealth of the amount need to run a family should be left private. When wealth effects the world economic, a nation, or a community, then its functions must be made public.

  • occupyRUScom

    SHAME on the ‘VATICAN BANK’STERS!

    [THEY] omitted Their own evil’ SHELL CORPORATIONS” in this expos’e!

    The ‘Source’ of the Anonymity of this so-called ‘Anonymous’ is too-Anonymous.

    Offshore-Bankng is:
    “FREEDOM From the ‘Too-BiG-To-Fail’ Banksters Int’l ! It is also
    FREEDOM of CHOICE (a/k/a ECONOMICS) ! And a
    HUMAN RIGHT !

    PS:
    i used to Know Rich People Who Invested Abroad via ‘Off-Shore’ because THEY did not want Their Money Being Used commingled (By Bankster’s Cartels for Profiting off of War Making, Provocations+ and keep separate from [evil] PETRO DOLLAR handling [Commercial] Banks and [Teflon] Mafia Banksters Cabal via evilizing Behaviors by Wall Street Brokers, Thugs etc…

    Think of’m as sort of Rich-Protesters who became ‘Conscientious-Objectors’

  • kevinzeese

    They so want to go after Putin they attack him when he is not even mentioned. Of course, this is only one law firm. I expect there are law firms with more US corporations. I’d like to see those leak!

  • Southernfink

    Love to see those leak indeed!

    Neocons fail to realize that a Russian hard liner will be worse than Putin.

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