Published today are “The Panama Papers”, a global publication of eleven millions files of 2.6 terabytes of data made up of emails, documents, letters, property deeds, bank records, contracts and invoices dating back as far as 1977 leaked to journalists. It allows investigators and journalists to dig much deeper into the very murky world of the secretive offshore tax havens sheltering trillions of dollars and assets of the world’s most rich, famous and powerful.
From what we know, a year ago, an anonymous source contacted a German news outlet called Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) and submitted encrypted internal documents from law firm Mossack Fonseca headquartered in Panama. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has also received a copy, investigated and today publishes its initial findings (HERE).
Mossack Fonseca is considered one of the world’s biggest traders of offshore secrecy. The company boasts more than 500 employees and associates operating in more than 40 offices around the world. Needless to say that includes London, Jersey, Isle of Man, Gibraltar, British Virgin Isles and British Anguilla. It’s annual billing exceeds £40million.
There are 210,000 companies, foundations and trusts located in 21 offshore jurisdictions contained in the enormous stash of information in the leak along with the details connecting the ill gotten gains of bribery, corruption, weapons and drug dealing along with all manner of crimes perpetrated by individuals from tin-pot dictators to world leaders.
Mossack Fonseca worked with more than 14,000 banks, law firms, company incorporators and other middlemen to set up companies, foundations and trusts for its customers. Britain, one of the biggest money laundering tax havens in the world can now boast 1,900 intermediaries, the second highest number of anywhere in the world connected to the law firm and its clients.
Britain’s HSBC (Monaco and Switzerland) and Queen’s bank Coutts & Co (Jersey) make it to the top ten banking organisations listed as having the most offshore companies for clients connected to Mossack Fonseca.