Name the celebrity and most of them are in the list of Panama Papers leaked on Sunday exposing the super rich around the world with cash stashed in Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca that was founded by a German banker. From India, it has named Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Iqbal Mirchi, eminent businessmen and lawyers across all political parties.
The firm founded by Juergen Mossack and Ramon Fonseca to be known as Mossack Fonseca, admitted the world’s biggest money laundering scandal that involved biggies such as Russian President Vladimir Putin to FIFA icon Lionel Messi to a former Pakistani Prime Minister and some 500 Indians.
Revealed by an international coalition of media outlets on Sunday, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism, a non-profit in Washington, said the cache of 11.5 million records have been exposed involving more than a dozen world leaders, businessmen, criminals, celebrities and sports stars.
Munich-based daily, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, said the data was provided by an anonymous source who requested no monetary compensation and asked only for safety of his personal life. Ramon Fonseca, co-founder of Mossack Fonseca, said, “We are not responsible for the actions of a corporation that we set up,” he told Panama’s Channel 2 as the Panamanian government vowed to find culprits and offered to ‘vigorously’ cooperate with foreign governments for any illicit activities in Panama’s finance industry.
ICIJ revealed that the law firm’s leaked files reveal info about 214,488 offshore entities with 200 persons linked to them. Sueddeutsche Zeitung received about 2.6 terabytes of data that takes 600 DVDs to fit in, which is far higher than the leaks of WikiLeaks in 2013. Leaders of Iceland, India, Ukraine, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Argentina are among them. The findings are result of a yearlong investigation by the ICIJ, German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and more than 100 other news organizations, it said.
The ICIJ said the documents included emails, financial spreadsheets, passports and corporate records detailing how powerful figures used banks, law firms and offshore shell companies to hide their assets spanning over 40 years, from 1977 through the end of 2015.
“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. Global banks including HSBC, UBS, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and others have worked with Mossack Fonseca to create offshore accounts, it said.
“These findings show how deeply ingrained harmful practices and criminality are in the offshore world,” said Gabriel Zucman, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley and author of “The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens.” Zucman, who was briefed on the media partners’ investigation, said the release of the leaked documents should prompt governments to seek “concrete sanctions” against jurisdictions and institutions that peddle offshore secrecy.[tags, Panama Papers, offshore accounts, Mossack Fonseca, aishwarya rai bachchan, amitabh bachchan]