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The Panama Papers - rich & powerful's tax havens & money laundering


Panama Papers: Mossack Fonseca leak reveals elite’s tax havens

A huge leak of confidential documents has revealed how the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth.

Eleven million documents were leaked from one of the world’s most secretive companies, Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

They show how Mossack Fonseca has helped clients launder money, dodge sanctions and evade tax.
The company says it has operated beyond reproach for 40 years and has never been charged with criminal wrong-doing.

The documents show links to 72 current or former heads of state in the data, including the Icelandic Prime Minister, Sigmundur Gunnlaugson, who had an undeclared interest linked to his wife’s wealth and is now facing calls for his resignation.

The files also reveal a suspected billion-dollar money laundering ring involving close associates of President Putin.

Gerard Ryle, director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), said the documents covered the day-to-day business at Mossack Fonseca over the past 40 years.

“I think the leak will prove to be probably the biggest blow the offshore world has ever taken because of the extent of the documents,” he said.


Russian connection

It also reveals a suspected billion-dollar money laundering ring that was run by a Russian bank and involved close associates of President Putin.

The operation was run by Bank Rossiya, which is subject to US and EU sanctions following Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

The documents reveal for the first time how the bank operates.

Money has been channelled through offshore companies, two of which were officially owned by one of the Russian president’s closest friends.

Concert cellist Sergei Roldugin has known Vladimir Putin since they were teenagers and is godfather to the president’s daughter Maria.

On paper, Mr Roldugin has personally made hundreds of millions of dollars in profits from suspicious deals.

But documents from Mr Roldugin’s companies state that: “The company is a corporate screen established principally to protect the identity and confidentiality of the ultimate beneficial owner of the company.”

Iceland connection

Mossack Fonseca data also shows how Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson had an undeclared interest in his country’s failed banks.

Mr Gunnlaugsson has been accused of hiding millions of dollars of investments in his country’s banks behind a secretive offshore company.

Leaked documents show that Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson and his wife bought offshore company Wintris in 2007.

He did not declare an interest in the company when entering parliament in 2009. He sold his 50% of Wintris to his wife for $1 (70p), eight months later.

Mr Gunnlaugsson is now facing calls for his resignation. He says he has not broken any rules, and his wife did not benefit financially from his decisions.

The offshore company was used to invest millions of dollars of inherited money, according to a document signed by Mr Gunnlaugsson’s wife Anna Sigurlaug Pálsdóttir in 2015.



Such a great week for corporate crime!!!

I mean …

terrible stuff.

Terrible terrible stuff.


As long as they don’t find my Friend’s Provident account in the Isle of Man.


It’s only a matter of time…


I’ll be back tomorrow with a new username and location.


Mr. V. Putin, Moscow?


We should have kept the Templars.


Looks like we did.


Panama Papers: Iceland prime minister resigns

The prime minister of Iceland has resigned - the first major casualty of the Panama Papers leaks which have shed an embarrassing spotlight on the world of offshore finance.

The leaks, from Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca, showed PM Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson owned an offshore company, Wintris, with his wife.

He was accused of concealing millions of dollars worth of family assets.


Other Panama Papers reaction

**France returns Panama to a list of countries which fail to co-operate over tax evasion**
**The US Department of Justice is reviewing the leaked documents to look for evidence of corruption that could be prosecuted in the US,** the Wall Street Journal reports
**Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela says his government has "zero tolerance" for illicit financial activities and would co-operate vigorously with any judicial investigation in any country**



I think this is the epitome of rich people problems.
Seriously, this is the kind of stuff that keeps the 1% awake at night.


The other 99% should learn to care about it a bit more, then. These things aren’t occurring in a vacuum.


I had a beer over the weekend called Double Irish that made me think of this thread. :wink:


I think I used to know them :wink:


I think they do.
Like back home in South Africa, we’re working on impeaching the president for (amongst other things) violating the constitution and using public funds to build himself a new home. The thing is money talks and 90% of the world can be bought so they don’t care that much anymore. The 1% know this. That’s why they’re the 1%.


Nice article in this morning’s Irish Times putting things into perspective (with a slightly Irish slant)


It is extraordinary. It is too good to be true. It can’t be true. In fact it must all be some sort of big hoax that missed April fools by a couple of days

Vladimir Putin’s spokesman is right. It has all been made up to damage and discredit the rich, powerful and successful. The only rational explanation is the International Consortuim of Investigative Journalists and its henchmen – including The Irish Times – have spent the last 12 months fabricating 11.5 million documents – or if you prefer 2.7 terabytes of data. They have concocted an elaborate backstory about a law firm in Panama, complete with a link to the Nazis.

Something in the order of 214,488 companies, trusts and foundations have been created out of thin air and more than 14,000 “clients” have been invented in jurisdictions ranging from New Zealand to the Isle of Man. Respectable global banks such a HSBC and UBS have been expertly woven into this tissue of lies. All of this has been done to damage the leaders of 12 countries, 128 politicians and public officials, lots of wealthy people and also, it seems.



How The Panama Papers Brought Down A Prime Minister, Re-Set The Bar For Serious Journalism & Embarrassed The New York Times

Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigned Tuesday, the first political casualty following a leak reported Sunday that dwarfed in scale reveals from the likes of data from Sony e-mails and Edward Snowden’s purloined National Security Agency documents. The repercussions already are being felt, from the Kremlin to Iceland to Hollywood — and the newsroom of The New York Times.


The search-and-explain mission resulted from an extraordinary collaboration among 370 journalists from 100 news organizations in 70 countries. Dubbed the “Panama Papers” — an obvious tribute to the Pentagon Papers, which were published in 1971 by The New York Times and The Washington Post, hastening the end of the Vietnam War and the resignation of President Nixon — the story has pols and moguls on edge around the world, including Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, along with the now former Iceland P.M.

In a rare gesture by organizations that more typically compete for the first scoop on such material, the story was published simultaneously around the world on Sunday at 2 PM New York time.

“A year ago Süddeutsche Zeitung was contacted by an anonymous whistleblower,” Michael Hudson, a senior editor at the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) told me in an interview Tuesday. The Munich newspaper was not asked for any money in return. “No one involved paid anything for the records,” said Hudson, who devoted about six months to the project as reporter and editor. “All the whistleblower wanted was protection for himself and his family, since there were criminals involved in some of the transactions.

“You don’t want newspapers parachuting into a story where they have no history. And with a story this size, there is no way a lone wolf can cover it. It requires something journalists aren’t always known for: teamwork and patience. Nobody tried to scoop anybody else.” — editor Michael Hudson

“The [German] paper came to us because they wanted to make use of our expertise and reputation around
the world,” Hudson continued. “With these stories, you don’t want newspapers parachuting into a story where they have no history. And with a story this size, there is no way a lone wolf can cover it It requires something aren’t always known for: teamwork and patience. Nobody tried to scoop anybody else.”

That fact alone struck Ken Auletta, the longtime media reporter and analyst for The New Yorker magazine, as remarkable. “The fact that it didn’t leak is absolutely awesome,” he said in a telephone interview. “And it’s testimonial to the fact that journalism is a public service.”


One journalistic bastion was notably absent from the global front page interest in the Panama Papers. The New York Times was comparatively slow coming to the party and buried its first coverage of the story on page 3 of Monday’s paper. Public Editor Margaret Sullivan, in her blog, noted that some Times readers expressed surprise and even anger that the Paper of Record seemed intent on underplaying what obviously is a major story. The Times does not participate in ICIJ, though it has published investigative stories from other journalism collectives (and collaborated with the Guardian on the release of the Snowden data). Even more reason to think the Times misjudged the importance of the story. “The Times is still the greatest paper in the world,” Auletta said. “But it didn’t deserve to be on page 3.”


ICIJ was in touch with the Times about the original Sunday story. “It’s so depressing that they couldn’t bring themselves to give space to someone else,” he said. Knowing that there is no more competitive place on Earth than the Eighth Avenue newsroom of The New York Times, I reminded Kovach of Harry Truman’s dictum: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit. ”“The Times insisted they had to do their own verification of the documents,” Kovach said. I heard him laughing on the line. Laughing quite heartily, in fact, until he stopped. “But having made that decision not to recognize it when it appeared, to underplay the story?” he said. “I was really disappointed.”