Welcome to Panama Leaks….! But also a tax haven where the rich and powerful hide their wealth or illegal money. Panama Leaks
What the Scandal is about?
A huge leak of confidential documents has revealed how the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth or illegal money. Eleven million confidential documents have been leaked from one of the most secret companies on the planet. The documents reveal secret companies linked to the families and associates of some high profile personalities.
Over a year ago, an incognito source approached Suddeutsche Zeitung with an encrypted internal documents from a Panamian law firm –that sells anonymous offshore companies all around the world –Mossack Fonseca. These Shell companies facilitates their owner to whitewash (hide) their business dealings regardless of the extent of its unethical nature.
With time passing by, the documents went on increasing far beyond the original leak. And finally came to an end by getting about, Suddeutsche Zeitung with a 2.6 terabytes of data, imaging the leak the greatest breakthrough that the journalist had ever been worked with. While in return, the source neither wanted to a financial compensation or anything else except a few security measures.
The information in the documents throws a rare intuition of a world that only exists in the silhouette. This shows how a global industry leading by major banks, legal firms, and assets management companies secretly managing the estates of the world’s rich and powerful and even some public figured profiles, including from Politicians to FIFA officials, fraudsters and drug smugglers, and from celebrities to professional athletes.
A small Panamian law firm that almost no one has heard of it -is at the center of the research: Mossack Fonseca.
One of the world’s biggest Suppliers of secretive offshore services. It’s a business that has helped people from around the world to break the law. Mossack Fonseca guarded the data of the world’s most powerful and dangerous people.
How it all began?
At the start of 2015, until the unidentified source passed the encrypted information to Suddeutsche Zeitung, they have never seen that source in person. Rather, they talk to each other via an encrypted chat.
What’s the Source says?
The source says that they have to stop what they are doing. They think they are doing rotten business and want to stop it. They want to make these crimes public.
Working Group of Panama Leaks
The Suddeutsche Zeitung then, in cooperation with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) started analyzing the data. Panama Papers have been the biggest –ever international cooperation of its nature. Throughout the entire process, around 400 journalists from over 80 countries and from more than 100 media organizations took part in researching the documents.
The Guardian, the BBC in England, Le Monde in France, and La Nacion in Argentina were going to be involved. As a result of this large –scale cooperation with The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) Panama Leaks, this took until the end of the year, 2015. The international Team meetings were being held in Washington (at the National Press building), Munich, Lillehammer and London to route out the research the approach.
The Teams were then being put together that will focus on contracts like Russia or Iceland, trying to give this whole a structure and figure out what focus of research is.
June 2015 –The Research Begins on Panama Leaks
There were 1.5 terabytes of raw data they had, and yet probably more about 700 gigabytes to cover. They start compiling everything into a huge package of just over two terabytes. They have folders for 240,000 companies and each company has its own folder in which each contains emails, PDF files, and pictures, passport copies and certificates. There are dictators, members of the Japanese Yakuza Mafia, The Sicilian Mafia, Weapons dealers, and Drug dealers, pedophiles.
This leak is going to expose all of them and that it all started at the Suddeutsche Zeitung.
How it went –Connecting the dots
The Putin case is essentially about a musician. There is a very famous cellist who performs on a regular basis, and gives private concerts to Putin and his friends. He’s a normal, unassuming musician. But this normal, unassuming musician, who apparently isn’t involved in business and especially not in business that Putin is any part of, is suddenly linked to transactions worth hundreds of millions.
And that’s where they need to find out: How does a musician end up with so much money? Could this have anything to do with Putin! And is it possible that there are links to other friends of Putin.
The Contracts also play a major role. Many of their companies founded because their true Owners want to buy stocks. So these companies do business. They buy stocks. They buy villas. But you need contracts to make these transactions. And in these contracts, you’ll find things like Soccer United or whoever –wants to buy or sell this or that. But the company’s Director has to sign and that director is someone who’s sitting in Panama and has no idea of the company actually does. This person is sent the contracts, who, then ticks the right boxes, signs and sends it back.
The documents are emailed to and from Panama as word or PDF files. This throws a light on what the company’s true purpose is.
Iceland’s Prime Minister
Iceland’s Prime Minister comes up as a company shareholder. In this case, they discovered that it holds shares of Iceland’s three biggest banks, all of which went bankrupt in 2008. At the time, the shares were worth three or four million dollars. In Iceland, the law requires that the members of Parliament to be transparent about their assets and shareholdings. But he won’t.
Similarly, so many different dots are sorted out which results some big reveals in the history of the world. And are being coming out day by day.
What do those involved have to say?
Mossack Fonseca says–
“It has worked beyond reproval for 40 years and never been blame for or charged with criminal villainy. If we detect dubious activity or misconduct, we are quick to report it to the authorities.
Similarly, when authorities reached to us with any corroboration of possible misconduct, we always cooperate fully with them.”
Mr. Putin‘s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said
“The reports were in advance of journalists and members of other organizations briskly trying to disrepute Putin and this country’s leadership”.
A Publication of the leaks may be down to “former employees of the State Department, the CIA, other security services,” he said. ”
In an interview with a Swedish television channel,
Mr. Gunnlaugsson said
“It is business matters were above board and broke off the interview.”
“It is now investigating Mr. Damiani, who told Reuters on Sunday about breaking off the relations with the FIFA member under investigation sooner, the latter had been blame for corruption.”
How do Tax Havens work?
There are legitimate ways of using tax havens. The one which going on the most, now-a-days, is by:
- Hiding the True Owner of the money.
- The origin of the money.
- Avoiding paying tax on the money.
Who is in the papers?
The Peoples involved….
- Gaddafi in Libya
- Assad in Syria
- Mubarak in Egypt
And a world-famous cellist who is a close friend of Vladimir Putin, and the official owner of companies involved in a suspected, Billion dollar money laundering operation.
- And many more names are coming out day by day.
The size of the Panama leaks papers?
Amount of data compared to Previous leaks:
Wikileaks (2010) 1.7GB
Swiss (HBSC) files (2015) 3.5GB
Luxemburg files (2014) 4.4GB
Offshore secrets (2013) 260GB.
Sources from (ICIJ).