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  • In the last few days, people all over the world has been talking about The Panama Papers.

  • If you have no idea about what it is, how it happened and why it's such a big deal,

  • then let's find out.

  • To fully understand this, you might need to know about tax havens and offshore corporations.

  • Imagine Mr. Sneaky is a successful businessman, he runs a big company making $100 in revenue

  • each year. However, he can only spend $70 because he has to pay the government $30 of

  • corporate income tax. Mr. Sneaky doesn't like that, so he invests $90 to some offshore corporations

  • in Panama. The invested money is listed as business expenses, which is tax-deductible,

  • so Mr. Sneaky only has to pay $3 of tax because his revenue is now only $10 .He will get most

  • of his investment back after paying a small fee for these companies, thanks to the incredible

  • low tax rate of Panama, as known as a tax haven. Criminals, celebrities and corrupted

  • politicians are also interested in using offshore corporations' services for money laundering

  • and tax evasion because of anonymity, which is what normal financial institutions can't

  • provide.

  • The Panama Papers is a massive data leak of Mossack Fonseca, a law firm in Panama, specialized

  • in incorporating companies in offshore jurisdiction and wealth management. Mossack Fonseca runs

  • a worldwide operation with 600 employees working in 42 countries. It is considered the world's

  • fourth biggest offshore law firm. Mossack Fonseca operates in tax havens including Switzerland,

  • Cyprus, British Virgin Islands, Isle of Man, Bahamas and so on.

  • The leak consists of 11.5 million internal documents created by Mossack Fonseca between

  • 1970s and early 2016, including 2.6 terabytes of e-mails, pdf files, photos and excerpt

  • from Mossack Fonseca's database. This data leak is one of the biggest ever; it's even

  • bigger than 2010 US diplomatic cables leak and 2013 Edward Snowden scandal.

  • A year ago, an anonymous source contactedddeutsche Zeitung, a German newspaper about

  • the leak. The newspaper subsequently shared the files with the International Consortium

  • of Investigate Journalists. The files were distributed and analyzed by 107 media organizations

  • in over 80 countries by around 400 journalists. The first report were released on April 3rd,

  • 2016, exposed financial activities and offshore holdings of many people, including political

  • figures and other prominent officials. The full report is expected to be released in

  • May.

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In the last few days, people all over the world has been talking about The Panama Papers.

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