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  • A German newspaper revealed a trove of evidence linking world leaders

  • to tax evasion, money laundering, and bypassing sanctions. ThePanama Papersare a collection

  • of 11 and a half million documents concerning offshore companies and tax havens spanning

  • from the 1970s to 2015. Implicated are heads of state around the world, in countries like Argentina, Iceland, Saudi Arabia,

  • the United Arab Emirates, and Ukraine, as well as other influential people in 40 other

  • governments. So, what exactly is in the Panama Papers?

  • Well, in August of 2015, an anonymous source provided German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung

  • with 2.6 terabytes worth of documents, the biggest data leak in history. In order to

  • research and report on the information, Suddeutsche Zeitung reached out to the International Consortium

  • of Investigative Journalists and roughly 400 journalists at more than 100 media organizations.

  • After a year of investigations, what they discovered was evidence that a Panamanian

  • law firm, known as Mossack Fonseca, had helped their clients hide taxable income from foreign

  • governments, avoid international sanctions, and even launder potentially illegal funds.

  • Mossack Fonseca was able to do this by creatingshell companiesfor its clients in

  • tax-free havens, like Panama. These companies largely exist to hold customer money as an

  • investment”, instead of declaring it as profit or income, and thus having to pay

  • taxes on it. These companies also muddy the connection between the source of the funds,

  • and where they end up.

  • One of the larger reveals in thePanama Paperswas that the Prime Minister of Iceland

  • used a Panamanian shell company to invest money in three failing Icelandic banks. By

  • not declaring his financial involvement in the outcome of banking negotiations, there

  • was evidently a large conflict of interest. An estimated ten thousand Icelandic citizens

  • protested in the capital, forcing the resignation of the Prime Minister. Other documents

  • show that by way of these shell companies, Syria was able to circumvent international

  • sanctions in order to purchase fuel for its air force. And there are also instances where

  • close friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin made deals with a sanctioned Russian

  • bank through shell corporations.

  • The next few months of disclosures are expected to uncover a tangled web of behind-the-scenes

  • illegal banking among the world’s most powerful people. But whether those named in the documents

  • will ever be prosecuted, or if these revelations will spark revolutions, is yet to be seen.

  • As details continue to emerge, you probably won’t be surprised at some of the more corrupt

  • country leaders implicated in the scandal. Check out our playlist on corruption at the

  • top, starting with our video on some of the world’s most corrupt countries. You can

  • also click the video below to learn about why one of the most authoritarian and restrictive

  • leaders, Russian President Vladimir Putin, is still adored by his constituents. Thanks

  • for watching TestTube News, don’t forget to like and subscribe for new videos every

  • day

A German newspaper revealed a trove of evidence linking world leaders

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What Are The Panama Papers?

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    Jeff Chiu posted on 2016/04/08
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