Yesterday, an international collaboration of journalists uncovered the largest offshore data leak in history. This leak has been dubbed “The Panama Papers”, and includes around 11.5 million previously confidential records tied to the secretive, global law firm “Mossack Fonseca”. These documents date back as far as 40 years, and include details on around “214,000 offshore entities, connected to people in more than 200 countries and territories.” The leaked information implements many high-profile companies and individuals in acts of corruption, money laundering, and tax-evasion. The list of entities implemented in this scandal is as varied as it is long; including known drug smugglers, human traffickers, corporate billionaires, sports-stars, and even world leaders (ICIJ). Among the 140 political figures included in this leak are the prime ministers of Iceland and Pakistan, the king of Saudi Arabia, the president of Ukraine, and even associates of Russian president Vladimir Putin, Chinese political elites (including President Xi Jinping’s brother-in-law) and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
The Panama Papers may have just been unveiled, but have already caused major reactions worldwide. While China appears to be censoring online discussion about this leak, leaders from other countries have already faced serious backlash as a result of their involvement in this global scandal. Earlier today, protestors amassed outside of Iceland’s Parliament, demanding that Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson and his government immediately step-down from power (Source). Similarly, details about Ukrainian president Poroshenko transferring many of his assets to an offshore company, (despite having vowed to sell many of them while he was running for office have) led to lawmakers from multiple political parties calling for an investigation.
For more information on this unfolding story please subscribe for updates! Also, check out The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists if you would like to see the raw data yourself.