A new leak of confidential data has revealed yet another massive corruption scandal based on finances. This time it is centred around a company from Panama called Mossack Fonseca and involves a leak of nearly 11.5 million documents that amounted to 2.6 terabytes of data.
The data revealed that the Panama law firm has assisted its clients in activities like tax evasion, money laundering and skirting international sanctions for almost 40 years. They do this by selling, technically legal, shell companies for clients to store their money in. These companies come with puppet directors so that the true owner’s identity is not revealed.
The data has linked 72 current or former heads of state to these shell companies as well as numerous other politicians. Also included in the data are the companies of mafia members, criminals. Also included are officials from FIFA, professional athletes and celebrities.
Russian president Vladimir Putin has been involved through a trail of loans valuing over $2 billion made to his members of his inner circle that seemingly could not have been made without his assistance.
The leak also revealed how the prime minister of Iceland, Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, had a secretive interest in the bailout of the nation’s banks during the financial crisis. Gunnlaugsson reportedly has millions of dollars invested into Icelandic banks stored within one of these shell companies.
The investigation into the data took over 12 months and was carried out by nearly 400 journalist from over 100 companies that spanned 82 countries and was the largest such investigation ever conducted by journalists . The leak was supplied by an anonymous source to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, who headed and organized the investigation.