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Author Topic: What you need to know about the Panama Papers  (Read 7099 times)
galdur
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April 03, 2016, 07:38:18 PM
 #1

What is Mossack Fonseca, how big is it, and who uses offshore firms? Key questions about one of the biggest ever data leaks
Revealed: the $2bn offshore trail that leads to Vladimir Putin
Iceland’s PM faces snap election over revelations
Fifa faces new credibility crisis over leaked papers


Luke Harding

Sunday 3 April 2016 18.51 BST Last modified on Sunday 3 April 2016 19.23 BST

What is Mossack Fonseca?
It is a Panama-based law firm whose services include incorporating companies in offshore jurisdictions such as the British Virgin Islands. It administers offshore firms for a yearly fee. Other services include wealth management.

Where is it based?
The firm is Panamanian but runs a worldwide operation. Its website boasts of a global network with 600 people working in 42 countries. It has franchises around the world, where separately owned affiliates sign up new customers and have exclusive rights to use its brand. Mossack Fonseca operates in tax havens including Switzerland, Cyprus and the British Virgin Islands, and in the British crown dependencies Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man.

How big is it?
Mossack Fonseca is the world’s fourth biggest provider of offshore services. It has acted for more than 300,000 companies. There is a strong UK connection. More than half of the companies are registered in British-administered tax havens, as well as in the UK itself.

How much data has been leaked?
A lot. The leak is one of the biggest ever – larger than the US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks in 2010, and the secret intelligence documents given to journalists by Edward Snowden in 2013. There are 11.5m documents and 2.6 terabytes of information drawn from Mossack Fonseca’s internal database.

Are all people who use offshore structures crooks?
No. Using offshore structures is entirely legal. There are many legitimate reasons for doing so. Business people in countries such as Russia and Ukraine typically put their assets offshore to defend them from “raids” by criminals, and to get around hard currency restrictions. Others use offshore for reasons of inheritance and estate planning.

Are some people who use offshore structures crooks?
Yes. In a speech last year in Singapore, David Cameron said “the corrupt, criminals and money launderers” take advantage of anonymous company structures. The government is trying to do something about this. It wants to set up a central register that will reveal the beneficial owners of offshore companies. From June, UK companies will have to reveal their “significant” owners for the first time.

What does Mossack Fonseca say about the leak?
The firm won’t discuss specific cases of alleged wrongdoing, citing client confidentiality. But it robustly defends its conduct. Mossack Fonseca says it complies with anti-money-laundering laws and carries out thorough due diligence on all its clients. It says it regrets any misuse of its services and tries actively to prevent it. The firm says it cannot be blamed for failings by intermediaries, who include banks, law firms and accountants.

Panama Papers reporting team: Juliette Garside, Luke Harding, Holly Watt, David Pegg, Helena Bengtsson, Simon Bowers, Owen Gibson and Nick Hopkins

http://www.theguardian.com/news/2016/apr/03/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-panama-papers


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April 03, 2016, 08:14:17 PM
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About the Panama Papers

By Frederik Obermaier, Bastian Obermayer, Vanessa Wormer and Wolfgang Jaschensky
Over a year ago, an anonymous source contacted the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) and submitted encrypted internal documents from Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm that sells anonymous offshore companies around the world. These shell firms enable their owners to cover up their business dealings, no matter how shady.

In the months that followed, the number of documents continued to grow far beyond the original leak. Ultimately, SZ acquired about 2.6 terabytes of data, making the leak the biggest that journalists had ever worked with. The source wanted neither financial compensation nor anything else in return, apart from a few security measures.

The data provides rare insights into a world that can only exist in the shadows. It proves how a global industry led by major banks, legal firms, and asset management companies secretly manages the estates of the world’s rich and famous: from politicians, Fifa officials, fraudsters and drug smugglers, to celebrities and professional athletes.

A group effort
The Süddeutsche Zeitung decided to analyze the data in cooperation with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). ICIJ had already coordinated the research for past projects that SZ was also involved in, among them Offshore Leaks, Lux Leaks, and Swiss Leaks. Panama Papers is the biggest-ever international cooperation of its kind. In the past 12 months, around 400 journalists from more than 100 media organizations in over 80 countries have taken part in researching the documents. These have included teams from the Guardian and the BBC in England, Le Monde in France, and La Nación in Argentina. In Germany, SZ journalists have cooperated with their colleagues from two public broadcasters, NDR and WDR. Journalists from the Swiss Sonntagszeitung and the Austrian weekly Falter have also worked on the project, as have their colleagues at ORF, Austria’s national public broadcaster. The international team initially met in Washington, Munich, Lillehammer and London to map out the research approach.
Making of

The data
The Panama Papers include approximately 11.5 million documents – more than the combined total of the Wikileaks Cablegate, Offshore Leaks, Lux Leaks, and Swiss Leaks. The data primarily comprises e-mails, pdf files, photo files, and excerpts of an internal Mossack Fonseca database. It covers a period spanning from the 1970s to the spring of 2016.
 
Moreover, the journalists crosschecked a large number of documents, including passport copies. About two years ago, a whistleblower had already sold internal Mossack Fonseca data to the German authorities, but the dataset was much older and smaller in scope: while it addressed a few hundred offshore companies, the Panama Papers provide data on some 214,000 companies. In the wake of the data purchase, last year investigators searched the homes and offices of about 100 people. The Commerzbank was also raided. As a consequence of their business dealings with Mossack Fonseca, Commerzbank, HSH Nordbank, and Hypovereinsbank agreed to pay fines of around 20 million euros, respectively. Since then, other countries have also acquired data from the initial smaller leak, among them the United States, the UK, and Iceland.

The system
The leaked data is structured as follows: Mossack Fonseca created a folder for each shell firm. Each folder contains e-mails, contracts, transcripts, and scanned documents. In some instances, there are several thousand pages of documentation. First, the data had to be systematically indexed to make searching through this sea of information possible. To this end, the Süddeutsche Zeitung used Nuix, the same program that international investigators work with. Süddeutsche Zeitung and ICIJ uploaded millions of documents onto high-performance computers. They applied optical character recognition (OCR) to transform data into machine-readable and easy to search files. The process turned images – such as scanned IDs and signed contracts – into searchable text. This was an important step: it enabled journalists to comb through as large a portion of the leak as possible using a simple search mask similar to Google.
The journalists compiled lists of important politicians, international criminals, and well-known professional athletes, among others. The digital processing made it possible to then search the leak for the names on these lists. The "party donations scandal" list contained 130 names, and the UN sanctions list more than 600. In just a few minutes, the powerful search algorithm compared the lists with the 11.5 million documents.

 
The research
For each name found, a detailed research process was initiated that posed the following questions: what is this person’s role in the network of companies? Where does the money come from? Where is it going? Is this structure legal?
Generally speaking, owning an offshore company is not illegal in itself. In fact, establishing an offshore company can be seen as a logical step for a broad range of business transactions. However, a look through the Panama Papers very quickly reveals that concealing the identities of the true company owners was the primary aim in the vast majority of cases. From the outset, the journalists had their work cut out for them. The providers of offshore companies – among them banks, lawyers, and investment advisors – often keep their clients’ names secret and use proxies. In turn, the proxies’ tracks then lead to heads of state, important officials, and millionaires. Over the course of the international project, journalists cooperated with one another to investigate thousands of leads: they examined evidence, studied contracts, and spoke with experts.

Among others, Mossack Fonsecas’ clients include criminals and members of various Mafia groups. The documents also expose bribery scandals and corrupt heads of state and government. The alleged offshore companies of twelve current and former heads of state make up one of the most spectacular parts of the leak, as do the links to other leaders, and to their families, closest advisors, and friends. The Panamanian law firm also counts almost 200 other politicians from around the globe among its clients, including a number of ministers.

The company
The company at the center of all these stories is Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian provider of offshore companies with dozens of offices all over the world. It sells its shell firms in cities such as Zurich, London, and Hong Kong – in some instances at bargain prices. Clients can buy an anonymous company for as little as USD 1,000. However, at this price it is just an empty shell. For an extra fee, Mossack Fonseca provides a sham director and, if desired, conceals the company’s true shareholder. The result is an offshore company whose true purpose and ownership structure is indecipherable from the outside. Mossack Fonseca has founded, sold, and managed thousands of companies. The documents provide a detailed view of how Mossack Fonseca routinely accepts to engage in business activities that potentially violate sanctions, in addition to aiding and abetting tax evasion and money laundering.

About Süddeutsche Zeitung
Headquartered in Munich, Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) is one of Germany’s leading newspapers. SZ has a total readership of 4.4 million for its print and online media. Its investigative journalism team counts five people, three of which are members of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The Süddeutsche Zeitung has won a number of prestigious awards for its research work. Its team has cooperated with other media organizations on a number of projects, including Offshore Leaks, Swiss Leaks, and Lux Leaks, which ICIJ coordinated. At the beginning of 2015, an anonymous source began sending the Süddeutsche Zeitung data from Mossack Fonseca, a provider of offshore companies. This marked the beginning of the Panama Papers project.





http://panamapapers.sueddeutsche.de/articles/56febff0a1bb8d3c3495adf4/


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April 03, 2016, 08:15:10 PM
 #3

Thats not really any of the things you need to know...

Aren't the connections between the illegal money sources and politicians more interesting than what Mossack Fonseca has to say about the leak?

Quote
Among others, Mossack Fonsecas’ clients include criminals and members of various Mafia groups. The documents also expose bribery scandals and corrupt heads of state and government. The alleged offshore companies of twelve current and former heads of state make up one of the most spectacular parts of the leak, as do the links to other leaders, and to their families, closest advisors, and friends. The Panamanian law firm also counts almost 200 other politicians from around the globe among its clients, including a number of ministers.

http://panamapapers.sueddeutsche.de/articles/56febff0a1bb8d3c3495adf4/
bryant.coleman
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April 03, 2016, 08:33:22 PM
 #4

Nothing is going to happen. What happened after the offshore leaks of 2013? The information was hushed up, no one was prosecuted. The same will happen this time also. 90% of the politicians and the bureaucrats are corrupt. They will make sure that this time also, all the information will be destroyed and kept out of public sight.

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galdur
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April 03, 2016, 08:49:20 PM
 #5

Nothing is going to happen. What happened after the offshore leaks of 2013? The information was hushed up, no one was prosecuted. The same will happen this time also. 90% of the politicians and the bureaucrats are corrupt. They will make sure that this time also, all the information will be destroyed and kept out of public sight.

This is much bigger and more wide ranging. It´ll be extremely difficult to defraud this off the table. Millions of documents. It´s bribes, tax evasion, criminality.

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April 03, 2016, 09:00:19 PM
 #6

... And then mainstream media still feed people the idea that only Bitcoin is used by criminals Roll Eyes I wonder if people would do all kinds of crap and laundering if there was a public fiat ledger where each transaction and addresses could be seen. My guess is it would avoid many things.

This is what the banking system is allowing: full anonymity for doing whatever you feel like, whether it's against the law or not and doing it in a way that no one knows about unless some angel sent from above has the balls to leak these things out.

And people still reject Bitcoin because f*ck logic Roll Eyes
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April 04, 2016, 12:06:24 AM
 #7




https://mobile.twitter.com/Snowden/status/716683740903247873


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April 04, 2016, 12:12:32 AM
 #8

https://panamapapers.icij.org/the_power_players/

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April 04, 2016, 12:18:01 AM
 #9




First Panama Papers Casualty? Former Iceland Premier Calls On Current PM To Resign To "Prevent An Uprising"




http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-04-03/first-panama-papers-casualty-former-iceland-premier-calls-current-prime-minister-res


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April 04, 2016, 12:42:02 AM
 #10

IT’S A PARALLEL UNIVERSE FOR THE ULTRA-RICH AND ULTRA-POWERFUL. BUT A MASSIVE NEW LEAK HAS EXPOSED THEIR UNDERWORLD.

FUSION GOES INSIDE THE LAW FIRM THAT SELLS SECRECY TO DRUG DEALERS, DICTATORS AND ALLEGED SEX TRAFFICKERS.

BY THE NAKED TRUTH STAFF.

http://interactive.fusion.net/dirty-little-secrets/index.html

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April 04, 2016, 12:50:46 AM
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Who are responsible for the leak and what do they want in exchange? Losers and winners. Always. This is the question one should never forget.


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April 04, 2016, 12:56:23 AM
 #12



Who are responsible for the leak and what do they want in exchange? Losers and winners. Always. This is the question one should never forget.





https://imgur.com/a/VfUsy#MYWLXfz


https://www.occrp.org/en/panamapapers/overview/crime-of-the-century/


galdur
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April 04, 2016, 12:58:42 AM
 #13



Who are responsible for the leak and what do they want in exchange? Losers and winners. Always. This is the question one should never forget.




Who knows; maybe they got paid for what they didn´t leak. That would be my guess. There´s always someone who benefits.

galdur
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April 04, 2016, 01:01:37 AM
 #14



Who are responsible for the leak and what do they want in exchange? Losers and winners. Always. This is the question one should never forget.





https://imgur.com/a/VfUsy#MYWLXfz


https://www.occrp.org/en/panamapapers/overview/crime-of-the-century/




Oh yeah, the CIA and George Soros. Well, someone got paid to leak and also for not leaking some of the stuff - I guess.

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April 04, 2016, 11:55:24 AM
 #15

Time for monero (XMR) to shine as the premier anon crypto
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April 04, 2016, 12:16:20 PM
 #16

https://twitter.com/Lloyd_O_M/status/716873143214850048
https://twitter.com/Mothibi_Phosa/status/716745625031802880


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April 04, 2016, 12:31:03 PM
 #17

My local news still has not mentioned this story on the morning news. They show a bridge being closed for a stupid lap dog on the loose.
Its interesting that Putin is caught in this issue. He saw this issue coming and was trying to get senior officials to repatriot their funds.

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April 04, 2016, 04:49:54 PM
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My local news still has not mentioned this story on the morning news. They show a bridge being closed for a stupid lap dog on the loose.
Its interesting that Putin is caught in this issue. He saw this issue coming and was trying to get senior officials to repatriot their funds.


Do you know who owns that lapdog?

Putin.... trying .... to.... ha ha ha... trying to ...ha ha ha *burp* ha ...ha ha

Oh yes, Putin got power because he is a patriot.

Let's see what the papers say about Vlad the Inhaler

As young men in the late 1970s, Sergey Roldugin and Vladimir Putin became very close, “almost like brothers,” according to Roldugin. Putin went on to join the KGB and is now president of Russia. Roldugin gained fame as a world-class cellist, eventually becoming director of the St. Petersburg State Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatoire and Artistic Director of the St. Petersburg House of Music. Throughout their lives, the two have remained close. Roldugin had a role in introducing Putin to his future wife Lyudmila. He is also the godfather of Putin’s oldest daughter, Mariya.

Inside the Mossack Fonseca data Companies received advantageous loans

Sergey Roldugin was an owner of three offshore companies: Sonnette Overseas, International Media Overseas and Raytar Limited. St. Petersburg-based Bank Rossiya, which the U.S government described as Russia’s “personal bank for senior officials,” created the first two. The Rossiya executive in charge of setting up Sonnette described Roldugin as being “assigned” to the company.. In March 2008, Sonnette Overseas and four other offshore-companies gained major influence over Kamaz , Russia's largest truckmaker, for almost a year. International Media Overseas owned Med Media Network, which in turn controlled 12.5% of Vi, Russia’s largest television advertising buyer, formerly known as Video International. Another Bank Rossiya-created company assigned International Media Overseas the rights to a $200 million loan for $1.

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April 04, 2016, 05:01:12 PM
 #19

Trust the msm to put a spin on it,  Putin was never involved.

Where is the proof?

Quote
The massive anonymous leak of financial documents known as the Panama Paper could shake up Russia's elections this year. A team of international journalists published more than 11 million encrypted internal documents on Sunday from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, is not named in the documents, but people close to him allegedly are involved in a billion-dollar money-laundering ring controlled by a Russian bank. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists told CNBC the papers show Putin's close aides left a $2 billion money trail with offshore firms and banks. ICIJ's Jake Bernstein said it is amazing that Putin's name never appears in the documents.

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April 04, 2016, 05:40:05 PM
 #20

About to get even more interesting, David Cameron's dad has avoided paying UK taxes for the last 30 years (I thought the tories were meant be be cracking down on tax avoidance Wink)

http://www.theguardian.com/news/2016/apr/04/panama-papers-david-cameron-father-tax-bahamas

Quote
The fund was founded in the early 1980s with help from the prime minister’s late father and still exists today. The Guardian has confirmed that in 30 years Blairmore has never paid a penny of tax in the UK on its profits.


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