The world has been shaken again. Panama Papers have become the talk of the town and a heated topic of discussion in less than a fortnight’s worth of time. What is the hype about this and why is everyone suddenly talking about it? Let’s start from the beginning.
The massive leak of documents which has exposed quite a large number of facts about influential people in our world is now being termed as Panama Papers. The documents expose the offshore holdings of 12 former as well as current world leaders and how they have been hiding the truth from the general masses.
Furthermore, it also provides intricate details about the hidden financial dealings of 128 and above public officials and politicians along with world leaders across the globe. The total cache of 11.5 million records exhibit how the global industry of banking giants and law firms are constantly selling financial secrecy to the rich, politicians, drug traffickers, sports-stars, celebrities, business magnates and politicians.
Mossack Fonseca: Panamanian Corporate Service Provider:
The files have provided thorough insights on more than 214,000 offshore companies. These companies have been listed by Mossack Fonseca, Panamanian corporate service provider. Mossack Fonseca is the world’s fourth largest biggest offshore law firm. The list has disclosed the directors of these companies and identities of the shareholders which, to everyone’s surprise, include leaders from around the globe.
The records have been collected from an anonymous source by the German newspaper named Suddeutsche Zeitung. The newspaper then shared it with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The ICIJ later on shared it with influential newspapers and news channels across the world which include BBC, CNN, the Guardian and the list continues.
World Leaders & Politicians under Fire:
143 politicians who have come under the spotlight along with their families and close associates all of whom had been busy in using their offshore heaven for decades to hide their ill-gotten money. In Russia, a trail of total $2bn leads back to their president, Vladimir Putin. From the findings, it was concluded that his best friend, Sergie Roldugin, was the one who used to outflow this reservoir of cash to hide offshore in Russian state banks. The exceedingly interesting part is this scenario is that an immense share of this money ended up in the ski resort where Putin’s daughter said her vows.
The list of notable national leaders with offshore accounts include Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan; President of United Arab Emirates, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsoon; Prime Minister of Iceland, Petro Poroshenko; President of Ukraine, Alaa Mubarak; son of Hosni Mubarak, Ayad Allawi; Vice President of Iraq and ex-interim Prime Minister as well as Muhammad Nawaz Sharif; Prime Minister of Pakistan.
David Cameron, Prime Minister of Britain, who has always been seen engrossed in increasing the taxes, seems to not practice what he preaches. Panama papers unveiled the offshore investment fund which was run by his late father for avoiding the payment of taxes. His father hired a small army of Bahamas residents for this cause who’d sign up the paperwork to make a fool out of concerned authorities. The situation is worse than it looks as David Cameron said in a speech last year in Singapore, “The corrupt criminals and money launderers take advantage of anonymous companies to keep their offshore wealth”. Ironical, isn’t it?
Panama Papers are now referred to as the most prominent leaks in history as a total of 2.6 TB worth of data has been leaked as of today. The first time it became a part of the news and created havoc across the world was on April the 3rd, 2016.
What does FIFA & Messi have to do with Panama Papers?
A number of aforementioned names in the ‘Papers’ are conveniently connected, directly or indirectly, with FIFA; world governing body of association football. The names include former president of UEFA; Michel Platini, former president of CONMEBOL; Eugenio Figueredo, and former Secretary General of FIFA; Jerome Valcke.
The world’s most popular and celebrated soccer player, Lionel Messi, has also made onto the leaked files. According to the records, Messi along with his father were owners of a Panama company, Mega Star Enterprises Inc. A long list of shell companies is linked back to Messi while Mega Star is just another addition. The player’s offshore dealings are currently the target of a tax evasion case in Spain.
One thing worth noting here is that no American leader/politician has so far been named for the accusation of offshore wealth. This is almost inconceivable.
First Casualty of Panama Papers:
First casualty of Panama Papers has finally been reported recently as Iceland’s leader has issued his resignation. On Tuesday, 6th of April, 2016 Prime Minister of Iceland, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson handed in his resignation as his wife was found having interest in the country’s failed banks with the help of offshore company, Wintris Inc.
Will we see more leaders and politicians giving in their resignations and/or publicly accepting their crimes rather blunders? It is undetermined at the moment but it is duly confirmed that the world-leaders have plenty of secrets up their sleeves, hidden not so far away from the public-eye.
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