Panama Papers

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Event.png Panama Papers (leak,  Modified Limited Hangout)
Panama Papers.jpg
"How quickly we forget. It was just four months ago we learned of the role of Panama in helping so many rich and famous folk to dodge their fair share of the tax burden."
Date April 2016
Interest of Daphne Caruana Galizia
Description A huge (2.6TB) cache of confidential documents created by the Panamanian corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca that provide detailed information on more than 214,000 offshore companies, including the identities of shareholders and directors. Those identified include numerous wealthy and powerful political figures and organisations of many countries.

The Panama Papers is a huge (2.6TB) cache of confidential documents from Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian provider of offshore companies to minimize taxes and/or launder money. The leak, published in April 2016, identified include numerous wealthy and powerful political figures and organisations of many countries. Several commentators have suggested it is limited hangout of some kind.

Background

Early in 2015, the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung received documents related to the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca that provide detailed information on more than 214,000 offshore companies, including the identities of shareholders and directors. Those identified include numerous wealthy and powerful political figures and organisations of many countries.from an anonymous source.[1]

In 2016, Wikileaks tweeted about the Panama Papers "Putin attack was produced by OCCRP which targets Russia & former USSR and was funded by USAID & Soros".[2]

On 6 April 2016, Voice Hindi News aka Voice of America Hindi News published the "complete list of people named in the Panama Papers".[3]

Commentary

In a striking illustration of the maxim that the initial response to any event fixes the main outlines of the Official Narrative in the public mind, Western media – almost without exception – focused on the names of Vladimir Putin (though struggling a bit because only "his cronies" were immediately implicated), Syria's Bashar al Assad, Iceland Premier Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson and Chinese prime minister Xi Jinping. The Sydney Morning Herald coverage was typical [4].

Policy makers including German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen said the leak will strengthen the resolve of governments to combat tax avoidance and evasion. In a statement reminiscent of Benjamin Netanyahu's notorious remarks in the immediate aftermath of 9-11, Wolfgang Schaeuble said: “Even though it’s not surprising, it helps us. It increases the pressure to halt abuse.”[5]

Noting that the papers were in the hands of commercially-controlled media funded by big money, Craig Murray cautioned "Do not expect a genuine expose of western capitalism. The dirty secrets of western corporations will remain unpublished."[6]

On 26 August 2016, Ronnie Morrison in Bella Caledonia noted:

"How quickly we forget. It was just four months ago we learned of the role of Panama in helping so many rich and famous folk to dodge their fair share of the tax burden. It was even more disgusting to see so many politicians in the rogues gallery.
"The first response from the Panamanian law firm was indignation at the breach of privacy and to raise an action against the hacker. Most of us thought he should get a knighthood or at least a medal for his guts and public spirit however, as we know from the experience of the Snowdens and Assanges of this world, political asylum is not for the likes of them.
"Indeed, how many of us remember Hervé Falciani who just last year was sentenced to five years in prison for leaking the names of 130,000 suspected tax evaders holding accounts with UBS Private Bank in Switzerland? That information went to several governments and the IMF before being discreetly buried.
"Such hypocrisy from people who we have voted into parliament to protect our interest is a breach of trust which should carry serious consequences. The threat of resignation or public disgrace is simply not enough. Yet the public memory is short and fickle and if the dust does not settle within a few days we get an official Inquiry which will last as long as it takes until the next scandal hits the headlines and wipes the memory."[7]

Edward Snowden described the leak as the "biggest leak in the history of data journalism".[8]

Perpetrators

Professor Tatiana Yugay: "It’s clear that the Panama Leaks are part of the West’s hybrid war against Russia"

Bradley Birkenfeld, the "most significant financial whistleblower of all time" said, ““The CIA I’m sure is behind this, in my opinion... there’s something seriously sinister here behind this.”[9]

The Chinese Global Times observed that "...a powerful force is behind the Panama Papers" [10]

Professor Tatiana Yugay of the Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics and Informatics (MESI) and former advisor to the Presidential Administration and Security Council concluded: "It’s clear that the Panama Leaks are part of the West’s hybrid war against Russia. During the last two years, Russians have survived the devaluation of the rouble, a fall in oil prices, inflation, mutual sanctions and so on. We’re not likely to go to the barricades over Western gossip."[11]

On 14 April 2016, in a televised Q and A session, President Vladimir Putin claimed that Süddeutsche Zeitung belonged to the US bank Goldman Sachs.[12] Putin's claim was swiftly dismissed by SZ managing director Stefan Hilscher, who said in a statement the newspaper “has no relationship under corporate law with Goldman Sachs”, adding the paper’s ownership was publicly available information. Goldman Sachs referred to Hilscher’s statement and declined further comment.[13] Kremlin press spokesman Dmitry Peskov later retracted President Putin's claim.[14]

Secrets of the Super Rich

On 4 April 2016, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Four Corners broadcast "The Panama Papers: Secrets of the Super Rich" which Craig Murray praised for having "named and shamed Australia’s biggest company and Australia’s biggest foreign investor. BBC Panorama by contrast found a guy who sold one house in Islington. The Australians also, unlike the BBC who deliberately and knowing hid it, pointed out that the corruption centred on the British Virgin Islands, and even went there. All in all an excellent job."[15]


References