Get ready to hear the term “Panama Papers” on the news—a lot. That’s the name being given to a massive trove of leaked records, likely the largest data leak in history, that are touted as revealing how the globe’s rich, famous, and powerful hide their money in offshore tax havens,The Guardian reports.
The data, which reportedly totals more than 11.5 million individual documents, or 2.6 terabytes (way more than the data Edward Snowdenleaked to journalists, for instance), comes from the internal database of the giant, Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, which specializes in helping people set up companies in offshore tax havens such as Switzerland and the British Virgin Islands.
While keeping money in offshore accounts isn’t illegal in itself, the practice of hiding money from your home country that way, often through setting up shell companies, is inextricably linked to corruption and money laundering. It’s not clear who leaked the documents, just that an anonymous source gave them to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which shared them with 100 other news organizations. Overall, The Guardian says that journalists from 80 countries have been working together to analyze the data for a year leading up to going live with the story today.
It’s a safe bet to assume that there is still much more to be revealed in the coming days, but here are a few of the revelations that have been reported so far:
- Russian President Vladimir Putin has been linked to $2 billion in offshore accounts, allegedly taken from Russian banks, and which was being held in accounts opened under his friend’s name. Some of that money went to a resort where Putin’s daughter was married in 2013.
- More than 140 politicians from around the globe, including the leaders of 12 nations, have allegedly been linked to offshore money.
- Those politicians include “Ayad Allawi, ex-interim prime minister and former vice-president of Iraq; Petro Poroshenko, president of Ukraine; Alaa Mubarak, son of Egypt’s former president; and the prime minister of Iceland, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson.”
source: complex.com BY CHRISTOPHER SPATA