Public Comment

The Panama Papers

Jagjit Singh
Friday April 08, 2016 - 04:06:00 PM

A document known as the “Panama Papers” has exposed the sordid details of how the rich and powerful hide their wealth by using tax havens to avoid paying taxes. It’s by far the largest leak in journalism history. The world’s fourth largest offshore Panama based law firm, Mossack Fonseca, set up a massive global nefarious scheme to service their clients. Last Sunday, journalists released 11.5 million secret files from Fonseca’s database. 

Thus far, the revelations have incriminated 12 heads of state and a number of other politicians, their family members and close associates, including friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin, relatives of the prime ministers of Britain, Iceland and Pakistan, the son of Malaysian prime minister, the Saudi monarchy and the president of Ukraine. The prime minister of Iceland has already resigned and more heads are sure to follow. Relatives of at least eight current or former members of China’s top ruling body are also mentioned. In a desperate effort of damage control, Chinese news groups were ordered to purge all references of the Panama Papers. Panama’s “Snowden,” responsible for the leak, has not been identified, and has used an encrypted chat to communicate with the Munich-based Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, the prime recipient of the leak. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists spanning many countries set aside their usual competitive nature by printing their stories on the same day. This is journalism at its finest.