Panama Papers: World Leaders and Rich Lawbreakers Exposed in Massive Data Leak

Also see: Panama Papers Controversy Offers an Opportunity to Push for Transparency

UPDATE: Iceland Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson has resigned following the controvery.

“The biggest leak in the history of data journalism just went live, and it’s about corruption.” That is what NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted about the Panama Papers, which were released Sunday and reveal how the rich and powerful in numerous countries use tax havens to hide their wealth. Some 11.5 million files were leaked from one of the world’s most secretive offshore companies, Mossack Fonseca, a law firm based in Panama, and passed to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and then pored over by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The information in the files dates back to 1977 and goes up to December last year. The revelations implicate 12 heads of state and a number of other politicians, their family members and close associates, including friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin, relatives of the prime ministers of Britain, Iceland and Pakistan, and the president of Ukraine. Relatives of at least eight current or former members of China’s top ruling body are also named, and today Chinese news groups were ordered to purge all mention of the Panama Papers. So far, fallout from the leaks has prompted investigations and calls for resignation. On Monday, one of the largest protests in Iceland’s history demanded Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson step down after the leaked files revealed he and his wife were hiding investments worth millions of dollars behind a secretive offshore company. We are joined from Munich by Frederik Obermaier, co-author of the Panama Papers story. He is an investigative reporter at Germany’s leading newspaper, the Munich-based Süddeutsche Zeitung, and co-author of the book Panama Papers: The Story of a Worldwide Revelation, just released today in Germany. We also speak with Michael Hudson, senior editor at the International…

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