Internal papers of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and more than 100 media partners on April 3, 2016.
“Governments in more than 70 countries have launched over 150 investigations, inquiries, audits and probes into the affairs of thousands of people and corporations linked to Panama Papers.
Just last month, Malta’s tax office announced it had recovered more than $10 million as a result of investigations sparked by the Panama Papers and another ICIJ project, Swiss Leaks.
In March, Mossack Fonseca, the Panama-headquartered law firm at the center of the Panama Papers affair, announced that it had been forced to dismiss 250 employees from its offices worldwide due to the “current media, political and economic environment.”
Authorities in Panama have detainedJürgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca, the firm’s founders, since Feb. 9 on money laundering charges.
The men’s lawyer, Guillermina McDonald, denies her clients are guilty of wrongdoing and has accused Panama’s government of “selective justice” in its investigation of Mossack and Fonseca.
Last month, a Panamanian prosecutor held a press conference to update the public on the investigation into Mossack Fonseca, and claimed to have a “solid case” against the firm. Mossack Fonseca’s lawyers denied the government’s accusations and called for the men’s release.
Iceland votes, but what has changed?
Gunnlaugsson, who was forced to step down because of reports linking him and his wife to an offshore company, maintains an active Facebook profile, posting about Icelandic banking, new hospitals and the delights of raw meat on crackers.
When his replacement, Bjarni Benediktsson, took over as Iceland’s new prime minister in January 2017, critics noted that his name, too, had been included in the Panama Papers. Benediktsson used an offshore company to hold four apartments in Dubai, he said in response to the Panama Papers revelations.
Can’t stop the music in Russia
Sergei Roldugin, a classical musician and close friend of President Vladimir Putin, has played on even in the wake of Panama Papers documents that place him inside a circle of Putin friends who used offshore companies and bank account to secretly move some $2 billion around the world. Roldugin played the cello at a concert in Palmyra, Syria, in May 2016, one month after Panama Papers reports about him made global headlines.
Later in 2016, Putin gave the cellist and conductor a national award to recognize his contribution as an “outstanding citizen.” In February 2017, Russian media reported that the government had granted a tax exemption to an education foundation established by Roldugin in the city of Sochi.
Fallout differs in Pakistan and India
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been under pressure for a year in the face the Panama Papers’ revelations that his children owned shell companies that held homes in London.
In September, thousands of protestersswelled Islamabad’s streets to call for Sharif’s resignation. Opposition parties have been attacking him in court, alleging that Sharif failed to declare his family’s offshore connections. Sharif and members of his family deny wrongdoing. A decision in the case by Pakistan’s Supreme Court is expected any day.
Meanwhile, across the border in India, focus has been fixed on the efforts of the multi-agency taskforce created to investigate India’s black cash scandals: just last month, regulators announced that their probe has expanded to 424 Indian clients of Mossack Fonseca.
Uncertainty reigns in U.S. political upheavals
With Donald Trump in the White House, it’s unclear what will happen with Panama Papers-related investigations started during the Obama administration by the Senate Finance Committee and by the office the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan.
In March, Trump fired Preet Bharara, long-time U.S. Attorney for Manhattan, raising concerns about whether aggressive investigations by the office would be stymied. The Senate committee did not respond to ICIJ’s requests for information on the status of the investigations while the Department of Justice refused to comment. “ICIJ.org
“Mossack Fonseca worked with more than 14,000 banks, law firms, company incorporators and other middlemen to set up companies, foundations and trusts for customers. Mossack Fonseca’s clients have been rapidly deactivating companies since 2009, records show. The number of incorporations of offshore entities has been in decline for the past four years. Companies held by bearer shares often don’t need to register an owner’s name – ownership is determined by whoever holds the share certificates, providing a deep level of secrecy. When the British Virgin Islands cracked down on bearer shares in 2005, Mossack Fonseca moved bearer share clients to Panama.” ICIJ.org
The investigation grew out of five-year reporting push into the world of offshore secrecy, and has now been honored with journalism’s top prize
About Süddeutsche Zeitung
“Headquartered in Munich, Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) is one of Germany’s leading newspapers. SZ has a total readership of 4.4 million for its print and online media. Its investigative journalism team counts five people, three of which are members of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The Süddeutsche Zeitunghas won a number of prestigious awards for its research work. Its team has cooperated with other media organizations on a number of projects, including Offshore Leaks, Swiss Leaks, and Lux Leaks, which ICIJ coordinated. At the beginning of 2015, an anonymous source began sending the Süddeutsche Zeitung data from Mossack Fonseca, a provider of offshore companies. This marked the beginning of the Panama Papers project.
Among others, Mossack Fonsecas’ clients include criminals and members of various Mafia groups. The documents also expose bribery scandals and corrupt heads of state and government. The alleged offshore companies of twelve current and former heads of state make up one of the most spectacular parts of the leak, as do the links to other leaders, and to their families, closest advisors, and friends. The Panamanian law firm also counts almost 200 other politicians from around the globe among its clients, including a number of ministers.” Süddeutsche Zeitung
Country Leaders: Argentina, Georgia, Iceland, Iraq, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Abu Dhabi, Ukraine (Lazarenko & Poroshenko), Mongolia, Australia
Relatives/Associates of Country Leaders: Azerbaijan, China, Russia, Syria, UK, Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan, Ghana, Malaysia, Argentina, Mexico Spain, Cote d’Ivoire, S. Africa, Guinea