Monday, April 4, 2016

Panama Law Firm’s Leaked Files Detail Offshore Accounts Tied to World Leaders

April 4, 2016 (New York Times) A group of news media outlets published articles on Sunday based on what they said were 11.5 million leaked documents from a Panama law firm that helped some of the world’s wealthiest people - including politicians, athletes and business moguls – establish offshore bank accounts. The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung said its reporters had obtained the documents from a confidential source. The newspaper then shared the files with other media organizations, like The Guardian and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. In an article, the investigative journalism organization said the documents revealed the offshore accounts of 140 politicians and public officials, including a dozen current and former world leaders and several individuals with close ties to President Vladimir Putin of Russia. The organization said reporters at 100 news media outlets working in 25 languages had used the documents to investigate the law firm, Mossack Fonseca, and its clients, including political figures in countries like Iceland, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. 

The revelations also touched Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, who was elected in the aftermath of the political upheaval in the country in 2014 that led to the annexation of Crimea and open conflict with Russia in eastern Ukraine. Mr. Poroshenko, a tycoon with assets in television and a chocolatier before his entrance into politics, pledged to divest himself of his holdings but instead moved the assets into an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands, according to the consortium’s reporting. It said that Mr. Poroshenko, who has received political support from the United States, had not disclosed the arrangement.