Panama Papers Data Drop to Unmask 200,000 Offshore Companies
A major Panama Papers data drop is expected to shoot more officials into the international spotlight for their suspected involvement in tax evasion with details on more than 200,000 offshore companies managed under Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca set to be made public on Monday.
The new data, a select part of the over 11.5 million documents of the Panama Papers, will open a searchable database to the public including the names of directors and shareholders of more than 200,000 offshore entities set up through Mossack Fonseca, as well as the intermediary agencies involved in the running accounts. The leak is set to go live at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time. The information comes as the second installment of what’s being called the largest leak in the history of data journalism that has already implicated dozens of politicians, wealthy elites, and celebrities around the world in questionable financial practices of hiding their riches in shell companies and tax havens.
But although the leak will include thousands of names from countries around the world, it is likely that complex networks and shell company schemes will aim to obscure some of the real the owners of accounts. The Panama Papers have already had major political consequences. Most significantly, Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson stepped down under the pressure of massive protests voicing outrage over the leader’s secret offshore dealings that came to light through the Panama Papers.
In Latin America, Argentine President Mauricio Macri made international headlines as one of the 12 current and former heads of state from around the world directly implicated in the leak. Macri has continued to take heat over accusations of tax avoidance, including facing new charges pressed by an opposition lawmaker last week. In a statement released Friday, the source behind the Panama Papers, identified only as John Doe, stated that “income inequality is one of the defining issues of our time” and that the leak helped shed light on a pressing debate that requires more attention from governmental and global authorities.
John Doe also argued that the Panama Papers have helped to lay bare the fact that although offshore companies and accounts are not technically illegal, “they are used to carry out a wide array of serious crimes that go beyond evading taxes.” Mossack Fonseca is just one such law firm among many and doesn’t even top the list of the heaviest hitters in the business of setting up offshore companies, underlining the fact that the Panama Papers is just the tip of the iceberg in the world of tax avoidance and hidden wealth. TeleSUR will be publishing a series of articles detailing the involvement of Latin American politicians, business people, and other figures in Monday’s release of Panama Papers data.
Watch: What's not being said about the Panama Papers and Global Tax Havens