DAMNING Secret Documents Leaked
They are being called the “Panama Papers.” A collection of 11.5 million confidential documents that contain damning evidence of global corruption was leaked on Sunday.
The files were released by an anonymous source. They pertain to a law firm and corporate service provider called Mossack Fonseca, based in Panama.
What exactly do they reveal? A lot.
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which aided arranging the publication of the files, gave some details. According to the group “the documents involve 214,488 companies and 14,153 clients of Mossack Fonseca.”
There are around 140 politicians, 72 former or current heads of state included, from more than 50 countries, with ties to the company.
Among the revelations are incidents of sanctions evasion, tax avoidance, and money laundering.
Just who are we talking about here?
A few examples of those directly linked to, or closely associated with, the firm are:
Iceland’s Prime Minister. Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson stands accused of owning an undeclared interest in his country’s failed banks. He obscured it using an offshore company, part of which he later sold to his spouse for $1. There are already calls for his resignation.
Vladimir Putin. The Russian President’s name is not contained in any of the records. Many of his close friends and associates, including his daughter’s godfather Sergei Roldugin, made millions from deals that would have been difficult to secure without his knowledge, however.
Syria’s President. Bashar Assad’s ties to the Panama Papers are through two cousins. Brothers Rami and Hafez Makhlouf control key gateways to Syria’s telecoms and oil industries. Foreign firms desiring to do business within the country had to be cleared by them for a time.
Ukraine’s President. Petro Poroshenko was shown to have assets offshore including a European candy manufacturer. He is accused of having become the only shareholder of the company which was established in the British Virgin Islands right when Russian troops were entering Ukraine in August 2014. His office has stated that “the offshore trust was in no way related to Ukraine’s military or political situation.”
Argentina’s President. Mauricio Macri failed to declare an interest in a company named Fleg Trading Ltd. Set up in the Bahamas, he was a director from its incorporation in 1998 to the dissolution in 2009.
The complete ramifications of the leaked documents won’t be known for time.
What we do know is that hands have been caught in the cookie jar and the results, for them, will not be sweet.
© 2016 Vianna Vaughan