This archived article was written by: Nathan Pena
The business world was rocked with scandal as a corporate service provider, Mossack Fonseca leaked 11.5 million documents and records that reveal information on more than 214,000 offshore companies connected to people in more than 200 territories and countries.
These records consists of holdings of world political leaders, global scandals and details of dealings with drug traffickers, billionaires and celebrities as well as the Syrian Air Force’s bombing efforts. These records and documents have been dubbed the Panama Papers.
The Panama Papers lists different entities and individuals that participated in offshore trading through tax havens, most of which have a large political standing in the global table. Members cited in the Papers include King Salman bin Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al Saud, king of Saudi Arabia; Vladimir Putin, president of Russia along with the Presidents of Ukraine and Argentina.
Through the information of the Panama Papers, these individuals have been in connection with the Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca, the firm that leaked the documents.
The firm is a key player in the industry as it helps powerful entities protect their assets by transferring them to areas around the world where jurisdiction on finance and business are relatively low. The leaked documents revealed that the clients have been involved with arms dealings, drug trafficking, financial fraud and human-rights crimes.
These involvements are not without consequences. Beneath millions of documents are real victims of offshore trading. In Russia, orphaned girls as young as 13 are kidnapped and sold to others for sex. In Uganda, a company aided by Mossack Fonseca, was able to avoid paying $400 million dollars in taxes by transferring the company’s main address from one tax haven to another.
Because of this, Ugandan families remain starving and undernourished as well as their hospitals and other public institutions lacking the proper equipment.
The Panama Papers are being investigated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) who were given the documents by a German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, who was given the documents by an anonymous source. Had it been left unchecked, the world of offshore trading would continue to propagate among companies and the crimes individuals and entities have committed would remain buried.