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NYT: Leaked Files Detail Offshore Accounts Tied to World Leaders


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http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/04/us/politics/leaked-documents-offshore-accounts-putin.html?smid=tw-nytimesworld&smtyp=cur&_r=0

Leaked Files Detail Offshore Accounts Tied to World Leaders

 

A group of news media outlets published articles on Sunday based on what they said were 11.5 million leaked documents from a Panama law firm that helped some of the world’s wealthiest people — including politicians, athletes and business moguls — establish offshore bank accounts.

 

The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung said its reporters had obtained the documents from a confidential source. The newspaper then shared the files with other media organizations, like The Guardian and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

 

In an article, the investigative journalism organization said the documents revealed the offshore accounts of 140 politicians and public officials, including a dozen current and former world leaders and several individuals with close ties to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. The organization said reporters at 100 news media outlets working in 25 languages had used the documents to investigate the law firm, Mossack Fonseca, and its clients, including political figures in countries like Iceland, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

 

It is not illegal in many cases to have offshore bank accounts. But they are used in some instances by wealthy individuals and criminals to hide money and business transactions, and to avoid paying taxes.

 

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-04/unprecedented-leak-of-offshore-financial-records-exposes-secrets/7293524

Panama Papers: Vladimir Putin associates, Jackie Chan identified in unprecedented leak of offshore financial records

 

An unprecedented leak of more than 11 million documents has revealed the hidden financial dealings of some of the world's wealthiest people, as well as 12 current and former world leaders and 128 more politicians and public officials around the world.

 

More than 200,000 companies, foundations and trusts are contained in the leak of information which came from a little-known but powerful law firm based in Panama called Mossack Fonseca.

 

The law firm is one of the world's top creators of shell companies, which can be legally used to hide the ownership of assets.

 

The data includes emails, contracts, bank records, property deeds, passport copies and other sensitive information dating from 1977 to as recently as December 2015.

 

The year-long investigation was coordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), who worked with hundreds of journalists from the world's top media organisations including the ABC's Four Corners program.

 

What the documents reveal is the inner workings of a global industry of law firms and big banks who sell financial secrecy to those who can afford it.

The ICIJ findings include evidence that:

 

-Associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin secretly shuffled as much as $2 billion through banks and shadow companies

-Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson and his wife secretly owned an offshore firm that held millions of dollars in Icelandic bank bonds during the country's financial crisis

 

The files also expose or identify:

 

-Offshore companies controlled by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, the King of Saudi Arabia and the children of the President of Azerbaijan

-Offshore companies linked to the family of China's top leader, Xi Jinping, as well as Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who has positioned himself as a reformer in a country -shaken by corruption scandals

-29 billionaires featured in Forbes Magazine's list of the world's 500 richest people

-33 people and companies blacklisted by the US Government because of evidence that they have done business with Mexican drug lords, terrorist organisations like Hezbollah or rogue nations like North Korea

-New details of offshore dealings by the late father of British Prime Minister David Cameron, a leader in the push for tax-haven reform

-Customers including Ponzi schemers, drug kingpins, tax evaders and at least one jailed sex offender

-Movie star Jackie Chan, who had at least six companies managed through the law firm

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Wow, people like to avoid paying taxes.  And the ones that have more money and time on their hands to figure out how to do it are the best at doing it.  On top of that, it's world leaders that are doing it...world leaders only lead in one thing these days which is "Do as I say, not as I do."

 

Color me surprised.

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How is that supposed to trickle down on us?

Hey you moocher. Don't hate on the job creators. When one billionaire's untaxed yacht goes in the water all of our little lifeboats get raised up.

 

Or we just drown in the waves.

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To be honest, it's kind of reassuring not to see a bunch of American politicians on that list.  

 

You know they have them.  Perhaps just not in this group of individuals, but you know Bill, Hillary, Cruz, Trump etc all have them.  The only one that might not is Bernie. 

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To be honest, it's kind of reassuring not to see a bunch of American politicians on that list.

I think it's a testament to how the truly rich Americans can simply dance around the tax code that they've written to hide their own assets.

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https://twitter.com/BNONews/status/716964827311316994

Icelandic PM Sigmundur Davíð says he has not considered resigning over Panama Papers; no confidence vote planned for later today - Visir
8:25 AM

 

http://www.wsj.com/articles/leaked-files-detailing-offshore-accounts-spark-angry-reaction-1459776381

Panama Leaked Files Spark Angry Reaction in Moscow

 

News reports based on leaked documents that detailed alleged offshore accounts belonging to dozens of prominent people, including a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, sparked outrage from the Kremlin on Monday.



 

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I think it's a testament to how the truly rich Americans can simply dance around the tax code that they've written to hide their own assets.

How? What is your evidence and specifics that have led you here?

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https://www.yahoo.com/news/thousands-protest-demanding-icelandic-pms-resignation-212542546.html

Thousands protest demanding Icelandic PM's resignation

 

Thousands of Icelanders took to the streets late Monday calling for their prime minister's resignation after leaked tax documents dubbed the "Panama Papers" prompted allegations that he and his wife used an offshore firm to hide million-dollar investments.

 

Protesters filled the square outside Iceland's parliament in Reykjavik, footage on public television RUV showed, answering a call from opposition parties to demonstrate against Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson.

 

Police provided no estimate of the size of the crowd, but said the demonstrators outnumbered the thousands who in 2009 brought down the right-wing government over its responsibility in Iceland's 2008 banking collapse.

 

"Take responsibility" and "Where is the new constitution?" read some of the signs carried by demonstrators on Monday, referring to the country's new charter drawn up after the 2009 political crisis and which has since been held up in parliament.

Gunnlaugsson has meanwhile denied any wrongdoing or tax evasion and insisted Monday he would not step down. He said he never hid any money abroad and that his wife paid all her taxes on the company in Iceland.

 

A motion of no-confidence was presented to parliament by the opposition, and will be submitted to a vote at an as yet undetermined date.

 

"The prime minister should immediately resign," former Social Democratic prime minister Johanna Sigurdardottir said in a message posted on Facebook.

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Wow.  

 

http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/05/europe/panama-papers-iceland-pm/index.html

Panama Papers fallout: Iceland's prime minister resigns

 

Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson has resigned, the deputy chair of Iceland's Progressive Party said Tuesday.

 

Gunnlaugsson had been under intense pressure to step down since leaked documents hacked from a Panamanian law firm revealed his links to an offshore company, triggering mass protests in the capital.

The fate of Iceland's Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson and his government hung in the balance Tuesday as senior political figures in the Nordic nation held emergency talks amid fallout from the "Panama Papers" leaks.

 

Gunnlaugsson has been under intense pressure to resign since leaked documents hacked from a Panamanian law firm revealed his links to an offshore company, triggering mass protests in the capital Monday.

 

Critics said the revelations around the company, which allegedly had holdings in Iceland's collapsed banks, have shattered public confidence in his leadership and could affect the country's international reputation.

 

On Tuesday, Gunnlaugsson said he planned to dissolve parliament and call for fresh elections as soon as possible if lawmakers from his party's coalition partner -- the Independence Party -- did not support his government.

 

But after meeting with Gunnlaugsson, Iceland's President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson said he would not consider the request to dissolve parliament before he had spoken with both parties in the coalition, according to Iceland's national public service broadcaster RUV.

 

 

 

In other 'news':

https://twitter.com/RT_com/status/717127134515343360 Russia Today

#panamapapers reveal more about Western journalism than #Putin (Op-Ed by @Robert_Bridge) http://on.rt.com/793o

7:10 PM

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To be honest, it's kind of reassuring not to see a bunch of American politicians on that list.  

 

 

I think it's a testament to how the truly rich Americans can simply dance around the tax code that they've written to hide their own assets.

 

 

I have no doubt that rich people hide their assets, including Americans.

 

My point was about politicians.  In many, many other countries, once they get into power, top politicians regularly extract money from the state and stash it overseas for themselves.   For all the flaws of American politics, that does not happen here.  Politicians like Barack Obama and Mitch McConnell and Joe Biden and Paul Ryan are not getting together and stealing billions in tax revenues and stashing the money in Switzerland.   They are not channeling inflated government contracts to their brother in law so that the money gets into their personal family's fortunes, or writing laws that benefit their own personal businesses.   

 

This is not the case in the rest of the world.   This regularly happens in Russia, China, Argentina, Ukraine, Iraq, Malaysia, Qatar, Pakistan, Mexico, South Africa, etc.  Even Iceland is caught up in this.    

 

I consider that a major mark in the USA's favor.  

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https://panamapapers.icij.org/20160404-azerbaijan-hidden-wealth.html

How Family that Runs Azerbaijan Built an Empire of Hidden Wealth

 

On October 31, 2003, Ilham Aliyev, the newly elected president of Azerbaijan, stood behind a podium and a profusion of white flowers to address presidents, prime ministers and 2,000 other guests assembled at the Respublika Palace. First touching the constitution and then the Koran, Aliyev swore to serve his people. That night, fireworks lit up the sky of the Azeri capital, Baku.

 

Aliyev’s election to lead this energy-rich former Soviet republic bordering both Russia and Iran had been all but guaranteed. His ailing father, Heydar, an ex-KGB officer, had served in the same role for the previous 10 years. Election monitors reported that police had beaten and detained political opponents, in line with the country’s reputation for repression.

 

Becoming president wasn’t Aliyev’s only ascension during 2003. Using a network of secretive companies in offshore tax havens, his family, advisers and allies set about acquiring expensive overseas homes and positions in the country’s valuable industries and natural resources, including the family’s majority control of a major gold mine that has been unknown until now.

 

The new details of the Aliyev offshore empire emerge from secret records obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and other media partners from Mossack Fonseca, a Panama- headquartered law firm that helps to set up hard-to-trace corporate structures for clients. The more than 11 million documents reviewed by ICIJ and its partners – emails, bank accounts and client records – represent the inner workings of Mossack Fonseca for nearly 40 years, from 1977 to December 2015.

 

 

http://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2016/04/the-panama-papers-where-are-the-americans-000083

The Panama Papers: Where are the Americans?

 

The Panama Papers sent ripples across the globe Monday after revealing that 140 politicians from more than 50 countries, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iceland President Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, were linked to offshore accounts set up by the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

 

Despite its breadth, the scandal so far has barely touched American individuals and companies. There were no mass protests, as occurred in Iceland where protesters demanded the resignation of Gunnlaugsson; no U.S. leaders were forced to deny accusations of tax evasion as Putin did.

 

How have Americans so far escaped the biggest leak of financial data of all time? It’s not because wealthy Americans don’t use offshore bank accounts to avoid U.S. taxes: they do—to the tune of $1.2 trillion in 2014, according to one estimate. Some professors have suggested that Americans may have disguised their accounts at Mossack Fonseca behind another party. But there’s also a more structural answer, tax experts say—one that has to do with shifts in global financial policy—and, to an extent, taste.

 

Tax evasion overall is a far larger problem in developing countries, where norms around paying taxes are weak and rules designed to stop such evasion are ineffective. And when wealthy Americans do want to evade taxes, they turn to Bermuda, or the Cayman Islands, or Singapore. They don’t park their money in Panama.

 

“Within the [high-net worth] world, there is a national taste as in anything else,” said Edward Kleinbard, a professor of law and business at the University of Southern California, “and I think Panama is a disfavored country among U.S. advisers because it is viewed as an outlier relative to world norms.”

 

If the Panama Papers had come out in the early 1980s, the scandal may have implicated far more Americans. Back then, experts say, Panama was a popular spot for parking money offshore for its lax bank secrecy laws and currency controls. But in 1989, under then President George H.W. Bush, the U.S. invaded Panama and deposed the military dictator, Manuel Noriega, and wealthy Americans have largely avoided the country since.

 

 

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-panama-tax-idUSKCN0X10C2?utm_source=twitter

With the fallout from the leaks reverberating across the globe, British Prime Minister David Cameron also came under fire from opponents who accused him of allowing a rich elite to dodge their taxes.

 

And in China, the Beijing government dismissed as "groundless" reports that the families of President Xi Jinping and other current and former Chinese leaders were linked to offshore accounts.

In Britain, the leader of the opposition Labour Party demanded that the government tackle tax havens, saying it was time Cameron stopped allowing "the super-rich elite" to dodge taxes.

 

"There cannot be one set of tax rules for the wealthy elite and another for the rest of us," Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said. "The unfairness and abuse must stop."

 

He said Britain had a huge responsibility since many tax havens, such as the British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands, are British overseas territories, while others such as Jersey or the Isle of Man are British crown dependencies.

 

According to media that have seen Mossack Fonseca's files, more than half of the 200,000 companies set up by the firm were registered in the British Virgin Islands, where details of ownership do not have to be filed with the authorities.

 

Cameron has cast himself as a champion in the fight against tax evasion in British-linked territories. But he was put on the spot by the leaks, which named his late father and members of the ruling Conservative Party among the list of clients who used Mossack Fonseca's services.

 

Cameron said he did not own any shares or have offshore funds.

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To be honest, it's kind of reassuring not to see a bunch of American politicians on that list.  

NY Times reporting said because it's easy to create shell companies in the US, so there's less reason to offshore. 

 

Plus, our wealthiest are taxed at laughable rate compared to our Socialist comrades. 

Iceland's PM resigned.  I heard the report takes a giant poop on Pootin, too.  

Difference is that in Iceland, that's some shameful ****. Putin will go on a parade tour pissing on Russian citizens and telling them it is golden rain. 

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NY Times reporting said because it's easy to create shell companies in the US, so there's less reason to offshore. 

 

Plus, our wealthiest are taxed at laughable rate compared to our Socialist comrades. 

 

 

 

Once again, I'm talking about political figures, not our billionaires.  

 

Of course we have a ton of tax avoidance here.  It's the overt political graft that we have less of. 

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Iceland's PM resigned.  I heard the report takes a giant poop on Pootin, too.  

 

Putin apparently was not named anywhere in any of the documents released but lots of people close to him were. He is likely the shadiest person in the entire world.

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Putin apparently was not named anywhere in any of the documents released but lots of people close to him were. He is likely the shadiest person in the entire world.

Scary thing about Putin is how smart he is. He's a bad guy but not one of those unhinged lunatics who basically nullifies himself immediately. He knows exactly what he's doing and he's very clever about doing it.

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Putin apparently was not named anywhere in any of the documents released but lots of people close to him were. He is likely the shadiest person in the entire world.

An Ex-KGB is shady? Nah GTFOH, those dudes didnt hide **** or lie at all...

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