A huge leak of 11 million files give a glimpse into how the world's rich and powerful hide money in offshore accounts. The ICIJ published a short video explaining "The Panama Papers."
Journalists around the world and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (JCIJ) are pouring over a massive amount of leaked data from a law firm named Mossack Fonseca located in Panama. The so called "The Panama Papers" are comprised of 11.5 million records (2.6 terabytes of data) dating back about 40 years. The files reveal the secretive industry of offshore that the world's rich and powerful use to hide assets and skirt rules by setting up front companies in far-flung jurisdictions.
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Over 100 media groups collaborate on the Panama Papers, making it likely the biggest investigation of all time.
The leak contains information on more than 214,000 offshore entities connected to people in 200 countries. Journalists have just began to identify the billionaires, sports stars, drug smugglers and fraudsters using offshore accounts to hide their fortune.
So far the investigations revealed that 140 politicians and public officials around the world – including 12 current and former world leaders. Among them: the prime ministers of Iceland and Pakistan, the president of Ukraine, and the king of Saudi Arabia.
Additionally, the files contain information on 33 people and companies blacklisted by the U.S. government because of evidence that they’d been involved in wrongdoing, such as doing business with Mexican drug lords, terrorist organizations like Hezbollah or rogue nations like North Korea and Iran.
Watch below a short video released by JCIJ giving an introduction to the Panama Papers. Mossack Fonseca has responded to the leak that the company follows the law and has never been charged with criminal wrongdoing.
The ICIJ site has the latest findings from the Panama Papers.
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The impact of the leak is just starting to form. Money always will find its way, but the identified people, banks and company will face criminal and tax investigations.