Last week, the Panama Papers surfaced, and it was the largest leak in history. A total of 11.5 million files were leaked, and they linked to celebrities and politicians across the globe. Here is some additional information about the leak:
Why is it called the Panama Papers?
The Panama Papers are the offshore account files at Mossack Fonseca, a Panama-based law firm. The country is a popular target for money-laundering schemes because of its location and weak anti-money laundering laws. Mossack Fonseca itself was hacked. The leak included emails, contracts and other scanned documents. The firm is claiming no wrongdoings in response to the leaks.
Why do people have offshore accounts?
Using offshore accounts is legal. Businesses do it to diversify assets, protect themselves against robbery from criminals and get around certain financial restraints in their country. Unfortunately, a large portion of offshore accounts is used for money laundering and other illegal practices. Decreased government restrictions and surveillance allow for increased criminal conduct.
Who is connected to the leaks?
One hundred and forty-three politicians come up in the Panama Papers, including 12 national leaders. The leaders of Russia, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, Egypt, Ukraine and Iraq are all connected to the papers. The good news is no prominent American politicians are listed. There is, however, an interesting list of celebrities involved in the leak. Simon Cowell, Jackie Chan, Stanley Kubrick (who is dead) and Willian are all linked in the papers. None have yet to face charges. In addition, FIFA, soccer’s governing body, is connected to the papers. The organization is already under investigation for corruption.
What are the specifics for those involved?
Vladimar Putin, the president of Russia, is connected to a $2 billion dollar trail of money. Putin’s name does not appear in the papers, but it is believed the money could not have been transferred without his assistance. David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the U.K., is also in some trouble. His father, Ian, ran an offshore fund that did not pay any U.K. taxes. FIFA just elected a new president this year after Sepp Blatter was removed due to corruption. The new president, Gianni Infantino, is implicated by the papers as being part of the FIFA corruption in his former job.
What is still going to happen?
The Prime Minister of Iceland has already resigned. Cameron has admitted he profited from the trust set up by his father. Despite facing intense scrutiny from the media and public, he remains in office. China, a country connected to the papers, is restricting Internet search results of “Panama” and “Panama Papers.” Although there has not been a huge backlash in Russia after the Putin implications, governments in France, the U.K., Mexico, Australia and Belgium are going to launch investigations into possible instances of tax evasion.