Reflections

Panama Papers: A Rude Awakening for the World's Wealthy

Apr 5, 2016 | 01:14 GMT
View of a sign outside the building where Panama-based Mossack Fonseca law firm offices are placed in Panama City on April 3, 2016. A massive leak -coming from Mossack Fonseca- of 11.5 million tax documents on Sunday exposed the secret offshore dealings of aides to Russian president Vladimir Putin, world leaders and celebrities including Barcelona forward Lionel Messi. An investigation into the documents by more than 100 media groups, described as one of the largest such probes in history, revealed the hidd
A leak from Panama-based Mossack Fonseca law firm revealed the offshore financial dealings of hundreds of the world's elite, including several international heads of state.
(RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images)

This morning, many of the world's elite suffered a rude awakening. The Panama Papers, the product of a year's work by an international network of reporters, had been made publicly available. The information dump, the largest of its kind, reveals the private financial dealings of hundreds of wealthy individuals, with records dating back 40 years in some cases. The development hit the superrich in particular, which partly explains the sensitive nature of the report: Its anonymous source was a leak from within a large law firm in Panama -- a notable haven for offshore wealth -- and its contents reveal the details of offshore companies and holdings. These details are normally hidden from public view and often for good cause, whether to mask tax avoidance or something darker. The average citizen usually lacks the motive and the resources to make use of such facilities. ...

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