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We suspect more than a few ‘prosecuted’ bankers will be smiling wryly today as, following the exposure of his offshore financial dealings – revealed in the Panama Papers – Iceland’s embattled Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunlaugsson has resigned. Despite earlier refusal to step down, the decision, which was reported by national broadcaster RUV, followed street protests that attracted thousands of Icelanders angered by the alleged tax evasion.
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“The cat’s out of the bag,” Mossack said. “So now we have to deal with the aftermath”… an aftermath that will make the provider of the biggest new tax haven service in the world, Rothschild, extremely happy.
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United Kingdom — Believed to be the largest leak of secret documents in history, the Panama Papers are the latest revelations exposing global corruption. The worldwide investigation supposedly exposes the secretive offshore industry the world’s elites use to hide assets and swerve rules. Based on a library of more than 11 million leaked files, it claims to have exposed a host of characters using offshore companies to facilitate bribery, arms deals, tax evasion, financial fraud, and drug trafficking.
As someone who spends most of his waking hours trying to make sense of the world around him, the Panama Papers leak seemed to represent one of those stories that only come around once or twice a year, if that. However, unlike with the Snowden leaks, the more media coverage I read surrounding shell company assembly line law firm Mossack Fonseca, the more I was left with a nagging sensation that something was just not right. Something felt off, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then along came an article by Craig Murray, which offered a plausible explanation of what had been nagging me.
First, many of you won’t know who Craig Murray is. Here’s a quick description of the man from his own website:
As the shock from the initial revelation of leaked Mossack Fonseca files fades away, one recurring question has emerged: why were there no American clients of the firm named (at least not yet)? After all, leaders in Iceland, Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, Australia and many other nations are already facing questions about their use of the Panamanian law firm, and yet nothing about the US?
The United States is pure and good and incorruptible. pic.twitter.com/Xo9LEuCavF
— Adam H. Johnson (@adamjohnsonNYC) April 3, 2016
One hint may have emerged when observing at the funding supporters of the project, among which we find George Soros’ heavily financially connected Open Society:
H/t reader squodgy:
David Cameron is facing calls for urgent action against tax havens in UK overseas territories and Crown Dependencies, as Britain was revealed to be at the heart of a shadowy global network of companies used by the super-rich to hide their wealth.
As tax authorities around the world were spurred to action by the release of 11.5m documents leaked from the secretive Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca, revealing how it helped clients dodge taxes and international sanctions, UK campaigners for tax justice reacted with dismay as it emerged that half of the companies exposed were incorporated in the British Virgin Islands.
For all the media excitement about the disclosed names in the “Panama Papers” leak, in this case represented by the extensive list of Mossack Fonseca clients, this is not a story about which super wealthy individuals did everything in their power, both legal and illegal, to avoid taxes, preserve their financial anonymity, and generally preserve their wealth. After all, that’s what they do, and it should not come as a surprise that they will always do that, especially following last year’s disclosure by the same ICIJ which revealed a list of 100,000 HSBC clients who had been dutifully avoiding the payment of taxes.
What the story is about is the nebulous world of offshore tax evasion and tax havens, which based on data from the World Bank, IMF, UN, and central banks, hide between $21 and $32 trillion, where registered incorporation agents and law firms in small Caribbean countries (and not so small US states) make the laundering of money and the “disappearance” of the super wealthy, into untracable numbers hidden behind shell companies, possible.
So, in order to learn some more about the real star of this story, the Panamanian lawfirm of Mossack Fonseca, we went to Fusion which has compiled a fascinating story of the company’s history, founders, and key milestone events in its life.
These include the Nazis, the CIA, Mexican drug lords, and of course, the U.S.
First, here is the Nazi and CIA connection:
An unprecedented leak of more than 11 million documents, called the “Panama Papers“, has revealed the hidden financial dealings of some of the world’s wealthiest people, as well as 12 current and former world leaders and 128 more politicians and public officials around the world.
More than 200,000 companies, foundations and trusts are contained in the leak of information which came from a little-known but powerful law firm based in Panama called Mossack Fonseca, whose files include the offshore holdings of drug dealers, Mafia members, corrupt politicians and tax evaders – and wrongdoing galore.
Even though, as we said in our previous post, the starting role in today’s record document leak should be that of Mossack Fonseca (and its heir apparent, Rothschild, operating out of Reno, NV) the general population is far more curious to learn which names will emerge as a result of this historic crackdown involving 11 million documents and 2,600 gigabytes of data.
And while the full disclosure effort will take months, if not years, here courtesy of Fusion, is a data map of the intersection between clients, shareholders, companies and agents who have used Mossack Fonseca’s services.