The Panama Papers are the name given to the most recent large leak of international financial transactions by a law firm in the country of Panama. The effects of this event are worldwide but are especially being felt by the leaders of some large and powerful democracies. It is very difficult to solve this problem as reporters will be sorting through the depth of information for some time to come. The international coalition of media outlets investigated the” trove”of papers that may reveal a secret network involving associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In the world there are a lot of companies who have lost their money and there are many powerful politicians and businessmen seeking to protect their investments through the avoidance of taxes.
There were 11 million documents that were dated back 4 decades, allegedly connected to Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca. The ICIJ recorded that the firm established secret “shell”companies and “offshore” bank accounts to protect the wealthy clients money from taxation laws. In 2015, ICIJ reports the audit found that Mossack Fonseca knew about the identities of the real owners of the 204 out of 14,086 companies it had.
These documents haven’t indicated illegal activity directly, but companies and offshore accounts can be used to mask the origin of financial transactions and ownership. There were many influential people included in the files and companies which the U.S. has “blacklisted” due to drug trafficking and other terrorism links by the ICIJ.
Here is a humorous look by John Oliver at the situation as it affected the President of Iceland:
Fallout From Panama Papers Echoes Around The World