The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has released millions of leaked documents showing how "the world’s most powerful people" are using offshore bank accounts in order to "conceal their wealth or avoid taxes." While there is technically nothing illegal behind creating shell companies, the leaked documents show how "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."
Generally speaking, owning an offshore company is not illegal in itself. In fact, establishing an offshore company can be seen as a logical step for a broad range of business transactions. However, a look through the Panama Papers very quickly reveals that concealing the identities of the true company owners was the primary aim in the vast majority of cases. From the outset, the journalists had their work cut out for them. The providers of offshore companies – among them banks, lawyers, and investment advisors – often keep their clients’ names secret and use proxies. In turn, the proxies’ tracks then lead to heads of state, important officials, and millionaires. Over the course of the international project, journalists cooperated with one another to investigate thousands of leads: they examined evidence, studied contracts, and spoke with experts.
Among others, Mossack Fonsecas’ clients include criminals and members of various Mafia groups. The documents also expose bribery scandals and corrupt heads of state and government. The alleged offshore companies of twelve current and former heads of state make up one of the most spectacular parts of the leak, as do the links to other leaders, and to their families, closest advisors, and friends. The Panamanian law firm also counts almost 200 other politicians from around the globe among its clients, including a number of ministers.
|U.S. 2012 Budget Wants to Make Cheaper Pennies, Dimes|
|Increased Labour Costs Could Bankrupt 9 out of 10 Chinese Companies|
|The End of the Discounted Wireless Provider in Canada|
|Canadian Copyright Collective Demanding Memory Card Tax|
|Where All the American Flags Being Burnt in Pakistan Come From|
|The Rise and Fall of Civilisations|
|Fake Name Generator|
|Japanese Robot Serves Ice Cream From Inside a Vending Machine|
|“In comparison to the waste produced by every other kind of electricity production, that quantity is close to zero.”|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|What Computers See When They Watch a Movie|
|“Collect drinkable water from desert air each day/night cycle.”|
|Facebook, Twitter Users Could Face Insurance Hikes|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|“If I’m upset with Facebook, what’s the equivalent product I can go sign up for?”|
|“Research that could engineer dinosaurs back into existence within the next five to 10 years.”|