Panama Papers FAQ’s : Largest leak in offshore history

By | April 5, 2016
(Last Updated On: April 5, 2016)

Panama Papers

Panama Papers

What are Panama Papers ?

2.6-terabyte leak of  confidential papers of Panamanian law firm called  “Mossack Fonseca ” to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is called Panama Papers.

Mossack Fonseca was helping foreigners to set up Panamanian shell companies to hold financial assets while obscuring the identities of their real owners.

The documents provide  hints at scandalous goings-on in a range of developing nations like corruption in Russia etc

These Panama Papers provide information about thousands of offshore entities, identities of their shareholders and directors. It listed various world leaders, public officials, billionaires, celebrities, sports stars and politicians.

What are the Key Features of  Secret File reveled under Panama Papers ?

  • Include 11.5 million records,
  • dating back nearly 40 years – making it the largest leak in offshore history
  • Contains details on more than 214,000 offshore entities
  • connected to people in more than 200 countries and territories.
  • Company owners in billionaires, sports stars, drug smugglers and fraudsters.
  • Reveal the offshore holdings 140 politicians and public officials around the world including 12 current and former world leaders 
  • famous names revealed are prime ministers of Iceland and Pakistan, the president of Ukraine, and the king of Saudi Arabia
  • Document some $2 billion in transactions secretly shuffled through banks and shadow companies by associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • Include the names of at least 33 people and companies blacklisted by the U.S. government because of evidence that they’d been involved in wrongdoing, such as doing business with Mexican drug lords, terrorist organizations like Hezbollah or rogue nations like North Korea and Iran.
  • More than 500 banks their subsidiaries and their branches – including HSBC, UBS and Société Générale – created more than 15,000 offshore companies for their customers through Mossack Fonseca.

What is the area of Operation of Panamanian law firm called  “Mossack Fonseca” ?

The powerful law firm based in Panama, Mossack Fonseca, has branches in London, Beijing, Miami, Zurich and more than 35 other places around the globe.

The firm is one of the world’s top creators of shell companies, corporate structures that can be used to hide ownership of assets. The law firm’s leaked internal files contain information on 214,000 offshore companies connected to people in 200 countries and territories.

What does Panama Papers reveals ?

Based on a trove of more than 11 million leaked files, the investigation exposes a cast of characters who use offshore companies to facilitate bribery, arms deals, tax evasion, financial fraud and drug trafficking.

What does Panama Papers Data contain ?

The data include emails, financial spreadsheets, passports and corporate records revealing the secret owners of bank accounts and companies in 21 offshore jurisdictions, from Nevada to Hong Kong to the British Virgin Islands.

How  Panamanian law firm called  “Mossack Fonseca helped to avoid taxes of various world leaders, public officials, billionaires etc ?

Panamanian law firm called  “Mossack Fonseca ” created Shell Companies. For example when an  athlete, actor, or other celebrity who wants to buy a house without his name and address ending up in the papers ,might want to pay a lawyer to set up a shell company to do the purchasing.

Who  leaked the Data ?

These documents were obtained by Sueddeutsche Zeitung, a daily newspaper headquartered in Munich, Germany. Sueddeutsche shared the Panama Papers with the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and other news outlets, including the BBC, the Guardian and the Indian Express.

Sueddeutsche mentioned that an employee at the law firm had leaked the data, telling the newspaper that he had risked his life in doing so.

How much Data has been leaked ?

Panama Papers is likely the biggest leak of inside information in history – more than 11.5 million documents – and it is equally likely to be one of the most explosive in the nature of its revelations.

The leaked data consists of 11.5 Million Documents in around 2,600 GB taken from the Mossack Fonseca’s internal database .

What is the period of Leaked data ?

The leaked data covers nearly 40 years period from 1977 through the end of 2015. It allows a never-before-seen view inside the offshore world – providing a day-to-day, decade-by-decade look at how dark money flows through the global financial system, breeding crime and stripping national treasuries of tax revenues.

Who Reviewed the leaked records  called  ” Panama Papers “?

The leaked records were reviewed by a team of more than 370 journalists from nearly 80 countries .Journalists working in more than 25 languages dug into Mossack Fonseca’s inner affairs and traced the secret dealings of the law firm’s customers around the world. They shared information and hunted down leads generated by the leaked files using corporate filings, property records, financial disclosures, court documents and interviews with money laudering experts and law-enforcement officials.

What does  Panama Papers reveals about  world leaders ?

The leak exposes the offshore holdings of 12 current and former world leaders and reveals how associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin secretly shuffled as much as $2 billion through banks and shadow companies.

They also provide details of the hidden financial dealings of 128 other politicians and public officials around the world and show how a global industry of law firms and big banks sells financial secrecy to fraudsters and drug traffickers as well as billionaires, celebrities and sports stars.

The Panama Papers expose offshore companies controlled by the prime ministers of Iceland and Pakistan, the king of Saudi Arabia and the children of the president of Azerbaijan. They also include the names of at least 33 people and companies blacklisted by the U.S. government because of evidence that they’ve done business with Mexican drug lords, terrorist organizations like Hezbollah or rogue nations, including North Korea and Iran.

Who are the big drivers behind the  Panama Papers ?

The Panama Papers make it clear that major banks are big drivers behind the creation of hard-to-trace companies in the British Virgin Islands, Panama and other offshore havens. The files list more than 15,600 paper companies that banks set up for clients who wanted to keep their finances under wraps, including hundreds created by international giants UBS and HSBC.

The documents show that banks, law firms and other offshore players often fail to follow legal requirements to make sure clients are not involved in criminal enterprises, tax dodging or political corruption. The files show that these fixers and middlemen protect themselves and their clients by concealing suspect transactions. In some instances, they work to head off official investigations by backdating and destroying documents.

How many Indian names has been named in  Panama Papers ?

500 Indians were linked to the offshore haven. Few famous names ar  billionaire property baron Kushal Pal Singh, recipient of the Padma Bhsushan, among India’s highest civilian awards, Vinod Adani, brother of billionaire Gautam Adani and billionaire real estate magnate Sameer Gehlaut, Bollywood glamours actor Amitabh Bachchan and his daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, a former Miss World featuring on it

What are the Laws in India dealing with black money ?

There is the Foreign Exchange Management Ac ,

The Prevention of Money Laundering Act,

the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act,

The Prevention of Corruption Act and

The Income-Tax Act.

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