03 April 2016

Pass the Popcorn

It appears that someone has hacked into the files of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, and found a treasure trove of evidence of international corruption:
A massive leak of documents has blown open a window on the vast, murky world of shell companies, providing an extraordinary look at how the wealthy and powerful conceal their money.

Twelve current and former world leaders maintain offshore shell companies. Close friends of Russian leader Vladimir Putin have funneled as much as $2 billion through banks and offshore companies.

Those exposed in the leak include the prime ministers of Iceland and Pakistan, an alleged bagman for Syrian President Bashar Assad, a close pal of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and companies linked to the family of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Add to those the monarchs of Saudi Arabia and Morocco, enough Middle Eastern royalty to fill a palace, honchos in the troubled body known as FIFA that controls international soccer and 29 billionaires featured in Forbes Magazine’s list of the world’s 500 richest people.

Also mentioned are 61 relatives and associates of current country leaders, and another 128 current or former politicians and public officials.

The documents within the leak also expose how secretive offshore companies at times subvert U.S. foreign policy and mock U.S. regulators. When drug traffickers, money launderers or other crooks control companies, they undermine national security, and the trail of dark money flowing through them strips national treasuries everywhere of tax revenues.


The firm is one of the world’s top five creators of shell companies, which can have legitimate business uses, but can also be used to dodge taxes and launder money.

More than 11.5 million emails, financial spreadsheets, client records, passports and corporate registries were obtained in the leak, which was delivered to the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper in Munich, Germany. In turn, the newspaper shared the data with the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

It would be nice if we actually saw some action by they criminal and tax authorities in response to the leaks, but I doubt it.


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