Panama Papers: World’s Biggest Scam Unearthing Elite Tax Havens

panama-papers-world8217s-biggest-scam-unearthing-elite-tax-havens.jpg

When 11 million documents were leaked from one of the most secretive companies in the world, heads will roll in what is the world’s biggest scam. The Panama Papers (called so because they reveal how Mossack Fonseca led Panamanian law firm helped clients launder money and evade tax as well as sanctions over a period of 4 decades) implicate almost everyone. From Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugson to Pakistan’s Premier Nawaz Sharif, the net is wide and investigators will have to catch the elite at their own game. Biggest Blow to the Offshore World The files reveal a billion-dollar money laundering ring as well, involving Russian President Vladimir Putin’s close aides. Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca has been placed in a tough spot.Like us on Facebook Scam Behind The Scenes: Hush Hush Money Behind ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’? Confidential documents have been leaked to a newspaper in Germany Sueddeutsche Zeitung. This in turn passed them along to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists comprising 107 media organizations in 76 countries which are exploring the allegations, reports the BBC. The document reveals how Fonseca offered financial services so that the wealthy could conceal their money. The US millionaire and life coach celeb Marianna Olszweski was one of them. Offered fake ownership records to evade the authorities and hoard wealth, she is one of many who have taken Fonseca’s help to protect elite tax havens. Tax Havens of Rich Leaders and Politicians Exposed The Panama Papers implicate all the big fish in the sea. The documents reveal how close to 12 current or former heads of state and 60 people associated with them siphoned off trillions of dollars to evade the tax authorities. Mayhem in the Muslim World Data link offshore companies to Egypt’s Former President Hosni Mubarak. Other prominent leaders who have also got caught in the scam are former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Russian Roulette A billion-dollar money laundering ring run by a Russian bank and close associated of Vladimir Putin was also exposed. The Panama Papers revealed Bank Rossiya subjected to EU and US sanctions following Crimea operates to protect the money of the rich, powerful and wealthy. Russian cellist Sergei Roldugin, a close confidante of Putin and godfather to his daughter Maria, has been found guilty of suspicious deals and subsequent profits from these, according to the news site. Iceland Ignomy The data also show how current Iceland PM Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson has undeclared interest in the banks of his country which failed. Leaked documents traced the sale of an offshore company to the premier and his wife in 2007, with undeclared interest. The company also served as a front for investing millions of dollars of inherited money. While the Opposition and public are calling for his resignation, Gunnlaugsson is resisting, reports the news site. Peril in Pakistan The son and daughter of current premier Nawaz Sharif have been found to own offshore companies that had dealings with Fonseca, Reuters reports. Others in the Net Others who have also been caught include relatives of David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister and Ukrainian President Poroshenko. Though holding money in offshore companies is legal, evading tax is not. Journalists who recovered the documents indicated that they could provide evidence for tax evasion, sanctions dodging and use of money for illegal crimes and drug deals. France, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands are just some of the countries where investigating agencies have begun probes into the matter. Mother of All Scams From Brazil to Argentina, the net is growing larger and the people involved are very high profile. Scams like these impact funding for health and socioeconomic development in adverse ways. Money is being siphoned off from those in need to those with plenty. This is the crux of the social media storm that has enveloped the Panama Papers. From The Guardian to Reuters, every news agency is covering this scam. The most important question is if investigators in the countries have also woken up to the implications of this massive fraud. Photo Sources: Flickr, Terrapin Flyer/Flickr