Panama Papers: Leaked Documents Reveal Hidden Wealth of World Leaders, Celebrities (Video)

The ICIJ alleges that shells companies are set up to hide funds for the world’s rich and powerful

Leaked files from a Panama law firm tie world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, to global corruption that involves secret offshore holdings.

Politicians, criminals and celebrities have been using shell companies to hide their finances, according to a series of reports by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

“At least $2 billion in transactions involved people and companies the ICIJ alleged had ties to Putin, according to the report,”Bloomberg wrote. “It outlined, for example, the creation, within 24 hours, of a chain of four shell companies in three countries, involving two banks, a process that made the money behind it ‘all but untraceable.'”

The German government said it hopes the revelations would spur global efforts to combat tax evasion and money laundering, according to The Local. The documents, spanning from 1977 to 2015, came from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca. The leak includes 2.6 TB of data and names 214,488 businesses.

“The Panama Papers investigation unmasks the dark side of the global financial system where banks, lawyers and financial professionals enable secret companies to hide illicit corrupt money,” Transparency International chairman José Ugaz told Bloomberg. “This must stop. World leaders must come together and ban the secret companies that fuel grand corruption and allow the corrupt to benefit from ill-gotten wealth.”

The parliament of Iceland and the nation of Argentina have also chimed in on the situation. The ICIJ’s report said account holders also include current and former leaders from Georgia, Iraq, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, and Ukraine.

The ICIJ is a global network of more than 190 investigative journalists in more than 65 countries, according to its website.

Watch the ICIJ Panama Papers explainer video above.

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