The Panama Papers are considered the largest data leak in history. They reveal 11.5 million files and 2.6 terabytes of information from Mossack Fonseca’s database. This is the 4th biggest offshore law firm in the world.
It was the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung to obtain these records from an anonymous source. Then, they shared the information with the ICIJ (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists). The latter, in its turn, shared the records with international partners such as the BBC and the Guardian.
What Are the Panama Papers?
This unprecedented leak of documents reveals the names of 12 national leaders. They are among 143 politicians, their family members and close associates from all over the world whose names are connected with offshore tax havens.
Sergei Roldugin, a cellist, who is the best friend of Vladimir Putin is among them. With $2 billion, he is found to be at the center of a scheme. Other names include Iceland’s prime minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko, Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Iraq’s ex-interim prime minister and former vice-president Ayad Allawi, Egypt’s former president’s son Alaa Mubarak, and Britain’s prime minister David Cameron’s father who has been running an offshore investment fund.
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Mossack Fonseca is a Panama-based law firm. One of its services is to incorporate companies in offshore jurisdictions like the British Virgin Islands. The firm operates all around the globe. Mossack Fonseca’s website boasts a worldwide network with 600 people working in 42 countries.
The firm operates in tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands, Cyprus Switzerland, and in the British crown dependencies – Guernsey, the Isle of Man, and Jersey. It has provided services for over 300.000 companies, more than half of which are registered in the UK, and in the tax havens under the administration of Britain.
Mossack Fonseca refuses to discuss specific cases concerning the leak, claiming they are confidential. Moreover, the firm thinks there’s nothing wrong with its conduct. According to Mossack Fonseca, the firm cannot be blamed for errors committed by intermediaries such as accountants, banks, and law firms.