Monday, April 4, 2016

The Panama Papers

Governments across the world began investigating possible financial wrongdoing by the rich and powerful on Monday after a leak of four decades of documents from a Panamanian law firm that specialized in setting up offshore companies.

The "Panama Papers" revealed financial arrangements of politicians and public figures.
In case, you don't know what I am talking about, here is some info that may help. The Panama Papers are documents — 11.5 million in all, or 2.6 terabytes of data — provided by an unnamed source to a German newspaper,Süddeutsche Zeitung, more than one year ago from the files of Mossack Fonseca, the law firm in Panama, described as the fourth-largest offshore law firm in the world.

Süddeutsche Zeitung shared the data with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The consortium then shared the files withreporters from 100 news organizations around the world, including The Guardian, the McClatchy newspapers, Fusion and other outlets. The New York Times did not have access to the leaked documents.

The articles said nearly 215,000 companies and 14,153 clients were tied to Mossack Fonseca. They linked 143 politicians, their families and close associates — including 12 highly placed political leaders — to the use of tax havens to shield vast wealth. Among those named were President Mauricio Macri of Argentina; President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine; Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson of Iceland; the former interim prime minister and vice president of Iraq, Ayad Allawi; King Salman of Saudi Arabia; the former emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, and its former prime minister, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani; and the Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi, according to the consortium.

The cellist Sergei Roldugin, a close friend of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, was also named in the documents. The Guardian described Mr. Roldugin as being at the center of a $2 billion scheme “in which money from Russian state banks is hidden offshore.”

Mossack Fonseca also counted among its clients close associates of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, according to the BBC, and eight current and former members of China’s Politburo. Dozens of influential donors and politicians in Britain have also been named, including Ian Cameron, the father of Prime Minister David Cameron, who ran an offshore investment fund that avoided paying taxes in the United Kingdom, according to The Guardian. Mr. Cameron died in 2010.

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