* * *
It was just a matter of time: shortly after none other than “youngest ever billionaire” Elizabeth Holmes herself admitted that the technology of her “innovative” company Theranos had been effectively a fraud, when several weeks ago the company voided and restated years of test results, the valuation of the company has finally been adjusted to reflect the underlying value of the company. And Holmes’ own net worth. As Forbes reports today, after Elizabeth Holmes topped the Forbes list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women with a net worth of $4.5 billion, today, the magazine lowered its estimate of her net worth to nothing.
The Panama Papers opened yet another window on the global system of financial corruption, showing how political leaders and businesses use shell companies in secrecy havens like the British Virgin Islands and many US states to evade taxes and hide corruption and other crimes. Yet the system of corruption depends on another factor beyond secrecy, one that is perhaps even more important: impunity. Impunity means that the rich and powerful escape from punishment even when their malfeasance is in full view.