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The Panama Papers: Exposing the rogue offshore money maze

April 7, 2016

Tags: investigative journalism, ICIJ, Panama Papers, offshore accounts

filed by Pat McNees

The Panama Papers: Politicians, Criminals, and the Rogue Industry That Hides Their Cash

Panama Papers: Exposing the Rogue Offshore Finance Industry (International Consortium of Investigative Journalism) Giant leak of offshore financial records exposes global array of crime and corruption. Millions of documents show heads of state, criminals and celebrities using secret hideaways in tax havens. Brilliant coverage by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism (ICIJ-- a global network of more than 190 investigative journalists in more than 65 countries who collaborate on in-depth investigative stories--"the world's best cross-border investigative team).

Secrecy for Sale: Inside the Global Offshore Money Maze (ICIJ, ) How UK's Rich Exploit Loophole. A secret list of account holders reveals how rich Britons are legally exploiting tax havens, despite a UK government crackdown.

Hidden in Plain Sight: New York Just Another Island Haven (Michael Hudson, Ionut Stanescu and Samuel Adler-Bell, ICIJ, ) Lax U.S. rules and real estate industry’s no-questions-asked approach make it easy for dodgy characters to funnel wealth through high-end Manhattan apartments.

The Art of Secrecy ( Jake Bernstein, ICIJ, 4-7-16 ) Locked in the files of a Panama law firm are the answers to mysteries involving Van Goghs, Picassos, Rembrandts and other masterworks

How the One Percenters Divorce: Offshore Intrigue Plays Hide and Seek with Millions (Will Fitzgibbon, ICIG, 4-3-16) Firm that practices no matrimonial law nonetheless plays big role when the superrich around the globe decide to split

Leaked documents reveal offshore accounts of the wealthy and powerful, report says (Associated Press, 4-3-16) An international coalition of media outlets on Sunday published what it said was an extensive investigation into the offshore financial dealings of the rich and famous, based on a vast trove of documents provided by an anonymous source. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalism, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, said the cache of 11.5 million records detailed the offshore holdings of a dozen current and former world leaders, as well as businessmen, criminals, celebrities and sports stars. "It allows a never-before-seen view inside the offshore world — providing a day-to-day, decade-by-decade look at how dark money flows through the global financial system, breeding crime and stripping national treasuries of tax revenues," the ICIJ said.

Leaked Files Offer Many Clues To Offshore Dealings by Top Chinese (Alexa Olesen, ICIJ, 4-6-15)

Key Findings (ICIJ, 1-21-14)

About this project--Secrecy For Sale: Inside The Global Offshore Money Maze (ICIJ)

Swiss Leaks: Murky Cash Sheltered by Bank Secrecy (ICIJ) See especially Explore the Swiss Leaks data (Matthew Caruana Galizia, Rigoberto Carvajal, Mar Cabra, Emilia Díaz-Struck, Marcos Garcia Rey and Will Fitzgibbon, ICIJ) The leaked HSBC files offer a rare glimpse inside one of the world’s most private banking systems. More than $100 billion from 106,000 clients of 203 countries.

Leak Ties Ethics Guru to Three Men Charged in FIFA Scandal (Gary Rivlin, Marcos García Rey and Michael Hudson, ICIJ, 4-3-16)

Luxembourg Leaks: Global Companies' Secrets Exposed (ICIJ) Disney, Koch Tax Files Leaked. Latest “Lux Leaks” files obtained by ICIJ disclose secret tax structures sought by “Big 4” accounting giants for brand name international companies. Pepsi, IKEA, AIG, Coach, Deutsche Bank, Abbott Laboratories and nearly 340 other companies have secured secret deals from Luxembourg that allowed many of them to slash their global tax bills.

US targets 'dirty money' hidden in luxury real estate (Sasha Chavkin ICIJ, 1-15-16)

'My God. We've done this': Meet the reporters who probed the Panama Papers (Matt Pierce, LA Times, 4-5-16) When Gerard Ryle saw a photograph of thousands of protesters gathered outside Iceland's Parliament this week, a thought flickered through his mind: "My God. We've done this." It was true. Iceland's prime minister stepped down from office Tuesday — the most significant fallout so far of the Panama Papers investigation by a team of reporters.

Investigations, protest, and call for election in Iceland as world responds to Panama Papers (Ryan Chittum and Hamish Boland-Rudder, ICIJ, 4-4-16) Icelandic prime minister's request to dissolve parliament and call a snap election has been refused by the country's president
Full Coverage: Panama Papers Document Leak (Los Angeles Times, 4-5-16)

'Panama Papers' revelations cost Iceland prime minister his job (Christina Boyle, LA Times, 4-5-16) The fallout from the “Panama Papers” claimed its first major casualty on Tuesday as Iceland's embattled prime minister resigned over a dispute about his offshore tax affairs. The decision to step down marked a dramatic reversal for Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, who had declared Monday that he would...

Five key figures implicated in the 'Panama Papers' scandal (Matt Pearce, LA Times, 4-5-16)

China Censors Mentions of ‘Panama Papers’ Leaks (Michael Forsythe and Austin Ramzy, NY Times, 4-5-16_

Those are just some of the links to what the Panama Papers series of investigative reports exposed. Links to follow-up stories will appear in Comments.


  1. April 11, 2016 4:44 PM EDT
    Panama Papers Leak Signals a Shift in Mainstream Journalism (Jim Rutenberg, NY Times, 4-10-16) Data breach journalism: "The official WikiLeaks-ization of mainstream journalism; the next step in the tentative merger between the Fourth Estate, with its relatively restrained conventional journalists, and the Fifth Estate, with the push-the-limits ethos of its blogger, hacker and journo-activist cohort, in the era of gargantuan data breaches."...

    "Back at the dawn of this new, Big Breach journalism, The Times’s then-executive editor, Bill Keller, wondered aloud in the paper’s Sunday magazine whether 'The War Logs,' a huge cache of confidential war records and diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks in conjunction with The Times, Der Spiegel, The Guardian and others, represented 'some kind of cosmic triumph of transparency.' He concluded, 'I suspect we have not reached a state of information anarchy, at least not yet.'"

    What are the Panama Papers? A guide to history's biggest data leak (The Guardian, 4-6-16)

    The Panama Papers told us what we already knew. How we respond will be the story (Jeff Sparrow, The Guardian, 4-11-16) There’s nothing more demoralising than understanding the world is rigged against you but you can do nothing about it. But can recent leaks spark a revolt?

    How Panama ended up in the middle of a financial scandal (Joshua Partlow and Ana Swanson, WaPo, 4-10-16) "...two German newspaper reporters got their hands on 11.5 million documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. The flood of disclosures that began earlier this month has revealed oceans of dark money sloshing through offshore companies the firm helped create. The leak outed the global rich and infamous: from relatives of China’s Politburo and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s cellist friend to British Prime Minister David Cameron and soccer god Lionel Messi.

    Here are the most famous celebrities with ties to the huge Panama Papers leak (Fusion,4-6-16)

    The Panama Papers: Where have Russia’s billions gone? (Washington Post editorial, 4-4-16)

    The Panama Papers: 7 things to know (CNN Explainer, 4-6-16)
    - PM