Panama Papers – Huge Leak of Classified Documents Has Exposed How Many Hide Their Money
The Panama Papers are an unprecedented leak of 11.5 million files from the database of the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm, known as Mossack Fonseca. Based in Panama, this law firm whose services include incorporating companies in offshore jurisdictions such as the British Virgin Islands. It administers offshore firms for a yearly fee. Services also include wealth management among others.
The company has a global network of about 600 people, working in some 42 countries. It has franchises around the world, where separately owned affiliates sign up new customers and have exclusive rights to use its brand. Mossack Fonseca operates in “tax havens” including Switzerland, Cyprus and the British Virgin Islands, and in the British crown dependencies Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man. It has acted for more than 300,000 companies world-wide.
With this Panama Papers leak, the largest of its kind and made completely anonymous, the company has been proven to help many government officials form all over the world, hide their “own” wealth, by laundering it through various methods. Among the more famous of these beneficiaries, are 12 current or former heads of state and at least 60 people linked to current or former world leaders. Among these are: Nawaz Sharif – Pakistan’s prime minister, Petro Poroshenko – president of Ukraine, Icelandic Prime Minister – Sigmundur David Gunnlaugson, Alaa Mubarak – son of Egypt’s former president, Ayad Allawi – ex-interim prime minister and former vice-president of Iraq, former Libyan leader – Muammar Gaddafi, Syria’s President – Bashar al-Assad and Russia’s own Vladimir Putin.
Each of these “respected” members of our society were able to hide substantial sums of money from the public eye, with the help of Mossack Fonseca. A more detailed representation of who had what, can be found on the Guardian and the BBC. Below is a video made by the people from the Guardian, showing just how one person, in this case Vladimir Putin, was able to turn one billion dollars of “dirty” money into more clean ones.