Panama Papers

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Mambrino
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Panama Papers

Postby Mambrino » Sun Apr 03, 2016 6:30 pm UTC

BBC:

BBC wrote:Panama Papers: Mossack Fonseca leak reveals elite's tax havens

A huge leak of confidential documents has revealed how the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth.

Eleven million documents were leaked from one of the world's most secretive companies, Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

They show how Mossack Fonseca has helped clients launder money, dodge sanctions and evade tax.

The company says it has operated beyond reproach for 40 years and has never been charged with criminal wrong-doing.

The documents show links to 72 current or former heads of state in the data, including dictators accused of looting their own countries.

They were obtained by the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

BBC Panorama and The Guardian are among 107 media organisations in 78 countries that have been analysing the documents. The BBC does not know the identity of the source who provided them.


More BBC coverage

Most surprising culprit thus far maybe Iceland's incumbent prime minister.

Also more coverage in The Guardian to be expected

My personal surprise is that my bank (where I have my student loan) is also heavily involved.

edit. Süddeutsche Zeitung has also English news page.

edit2. Also more: panamapapers.icij.org

edit3. From icij.org website: Cameron's late father also impllicated.

icij.org wrote:In 2013, U.K. leader David Cameron urged his country’s overseas territories — including the British Virgin Islands — to work with him to “get our own houses in order” and join the fight against tax evasion and offshore secrecy.

He could have looked no further than his late father to see how challenging that would be.

Ian Cameron, a stockbroker and multimillionaire, was a Mossack Fonseca client who used the law firm to shield his investment fund, Blairmore Holdings, Inc., from U.K. taxes.

The fund’s name came from Blairmore House, his family’s ancestral country estate. Mossack Fonseca registered the investment fund in Panama even though many of its key investors were British. Ian Cameron controlled the fund from its birth in 1982 until his death in 2010.

A prospectus for investors said the fund “should be managed and conducted so that it does not become resident in the United Kingdom for United Kingdom taxation purposes.”

The fund did this by using untraceable certificates of ownership known as “bearer shares” and by employing “nominee” company officers based in the Bahamas, the law firm’s leaked records show.

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sardia
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Re: Panama Papers

Postby sardia » Sun Apr 03, 2016 7:33 pm UTC

Is this gonna lead to arrests or fines? Or is this just embarrassing + business as usual. For example, the US tax agency IRS has its budget cut, so it can't afford to audit as many rich people anymore.

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Re: Panama Papers

Postby ObsessoMom » Sun Apr 03, 2016 8:44 pm UTC

What a fascinating ecosystem of scurrying things under this overturned rock. Thanks, Mambrino.

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Qaanol
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Re: Panama Papers

Postby Qaanol » Sun Apr 03, 2016 10:37 pm UTC

This is going to be huge.
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Re: Panama Papers

Postby HES » Mon Apr 04, 2016 8:48 am UTC

Qaanol wrote:This is going to be huge.

We'll see.
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Re: Panama Papers

Postby jewish_scientist » Mon Apr 04, 2016 12:35 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Is this gonna lead to arrests or fines? Or is this just embarrassing + business as usual. For example, the US tax agency IRS has its budget cut, so it can't afford to audit as many rich people anymore.

There are 2 questions. The first is whether or not what happened violated any national and/or international laws. If the answer to then question is yes, then the second question is whether or not governments/UN* will actually bring charges against the criminal/criminals. If the answer is no, then the second question is whether or not this bad publicity will significantly hurt the criminal/criminals. I think that the first answer is yes, and the second answer is no; however, that may just be because I live in the US and when the banks caused a huge financial collapse, only one person was sent to jail.

*I do not know who enforces international laws, so the UN is my best guess.
Last edited by jewish_scientist on Tue Apr 05, 2016 12:20 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Mambrino
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Re: Panama Papers

Postby Mambrino » Mon Apr 04, 2016 3:46 pm UTC

Independent reports on Cameron's father's investments, mentions they have been in the news previously. Downing Street considers them a "private matter". Let's see what happens.

edit. link to the The Guardian article

icij.org are most likely supplying this information to national tax authorities, so it will probably take some time for them to investigate. Hopes are they have good chances to prosecute if these holdings have not been duly reported to them?

SZ editor says there's yet more to come.

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sardia
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Re: Panama Papers

Postby sardia » Mon Apr 04, 2016 7:00 pm UTC

So like, is anyone gonna seize the funds? Send like a good way to advance political goals under the legitimate cover of Justice.

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Re: Panama Papers

Postby cphite » Mon Apr 04, 2016 7:41 pm UTC

jewish_scientist wrote:
sardia wrote:Is this gonna lead to arrests or fines? Or is this just embarrassing + business as usual. For example, the US tax agency IRS has its budget cut, so it can't afford to audit as many rich people anymore.

There are 2 questions. The first is whether or not what happened violated any national and/or international laws. If the answer to then question is yes, then the second question is whether or not governments/UN* will actually bring charges against the criminal/criminals.


The UN doesn't have the authority, and most government are going to be reluctant to charge their own leaders according to international law. You might see a few people charged for violating the laws of their own countries. But if you're expecting any sort of broad scale consequential legal action, you're kidding yourself.

If the answer is no, then the second question is whether or not this bad publicity will significantly hurt the criminal/criminals. I think that the first answer is yes, and the second answer is no; however, that may just be because I live in the US and when the banks caused a huge financial collapse, only one was sent to jail.


Most likely it'll cause slight embarrassment for the ones who actually give two shits about maintaining the illusion that they're just like anybody else when it comes to the law. Expect to see some apologetic statements and maybe some other politicians gloating; but not a whole lot more than that.

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Re: Panama Papers

Postby Echo244 » Mon Apr 04, 2016 7:42 pm UTC

sardia wrote:So like, is anyone gonna seize the funds? Send like a good way to advance political goals under the legitimate cover of Justice.


Anybody who moves on this is going to find their future political campaigns (or those of their friends) deprived of the large corporate and private donations that really help to tip the balance. And... spending really works. It shouldn't but it does.
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sardia
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Re: Panama Papers

Postby sardia » Mon Apr 04, 2016 7:57 pm UTC

Echo244 wrote:
sardia wrote:So like, is anyone gonna seize the funds? Send like a good way to advance political goals under the legitimate cover of Justice.


Anybody who moves on this is going to find their future political campaigns (or those of their friends) deprived of the large corporate and private donations that really help to tip the balance. And... spending really works. It shouldn't but it does.

Or you could stick it to Putin or the Chinese. Someone out there is gonna benefit from this politically.

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Re: Panama Papers

Postby leady » Tue Apr 05, 2016 10:57 am UTC

Echo244 wrote:
sardia wrote:So like, is anyone gonna seize the funds? Send like a good way to advance political goals under the legitimate cover of Justice.


Anybody who moves on this is going to find their future political campaigns (or those of their friends) deprived of the large corporate and private donations that really help to tip the balance. And... spending really works. It shouldn't but it does.


We are talking largely private "investors" here so I don't think control of politics is a real concern. I expect some amusing prosecutions in the near future (assuming there is criminal wrong doing rather than just dodgy tax avoidance) because there are always people with stuff to gain in such things.

Not sure how you can seize the funds in a bank in sovereign nation though...

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sardia
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Re: Panama Papers

Postby sardia » Tue Apr 05, 2016 1:25 pm UTC

The US doesn't use Panama for its off shore tax evasion, had the banking infrastructure ready to seize stuff, and an axe to grind against a lot of these heads of state/big name people. Motive and means in one convenient package.

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Re: Panama Papers

Postby Djehutynakht » Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:45 pm UTC


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Re: Panama Papers

Postby Djehutynakht » Tue Apr 05, 2016 4:25 pm UTC


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ObsessoMom
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Re: Panama Papers

Postby ObsessoMom » Tue Apr 05, 2016 5:51 pm UTC

News of Mr Gunnlaugsson's resignation came from Agriculture Minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson, who announced he would be taking over.


Very intriguing chain of command they have over in Iceland.

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sardia
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Re: Panama Papers

Postby sardia » Tue Apr 05, 2016 6:30 pm UTC

ObsessoMom wrote:
News of Mr Gunnlaugsson's resignation came from Agriculture Minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson, who announced he would be taking over.


Very intriguing chain of command they have over in Iceland.

It's because your context is wrong. He took over because he's the second in command of the party. He just so happens to be the ag minister.

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ObsessoMom
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Re: Panama Papers

Postby ObsessoMom » Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:31 am UTC

Oh. I thought it was because he was an expert on manure.

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Re: Panama Papers

Postby Sableagle » Wed Apr 06, 2016 4:22 pm UTC

Given the choice between:
a mercentary who got rich by helping the highest bidder retain control of the diamond fields;
a CEO who got rich by turning pristine, virgin rainforest into a lifeless wasteland of disused pits and spoil heaps;
a lash-and-burn palm oil producer;
a successful drug, rhino horn and gun smuggler;
a banker who got rich by paying himself $7,000,000 a year in bonuses for the number of bets he placed with clients' money (despite making less profit than a monkey throwing red and green darts at a list of available stocks would have);
a politician who handed control of his constituents' lives to corporations and then got paid $350,000 a time to have dinner with their boards of directors;
a farmer who grew a smallholding into a sustainable, organic farming village with good biodiversity and civic amenities
and a veterinarian who shoots pumpkins on YouTube ...

... the farmer does seem like the best choice.
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Re: Panama Papers

Postby leady » Wed Apr 06, 2016 4:25 pm UTC

given that "agriculture" in Iceland will almost certainly mean "fisheries" an organic crazy man would likely starve all 250k of them to death :)

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sardia
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Re: Panama Papers

Postby sardia » Wed Apr 06, 2016 4:26 pm UTC

Sableagle wrote:Given the choice between:
a mercentary who got rich by helping the highest bidder retain control of the diamond fields;
a CEO who got rich by turning pristine, virgin rainforest into a lifeless wasteland of disused pits and spoil heaps;
a lash-and-burn palm oil producer;
a successful drug, rhino horn and gun smuggler;
a banker who got rich by paying himself $7,000,000 a year in bonuses for the number of bets he placed with clients' money (despite making less profit than a monkey throwing red and green darts at a list of available stocks would have);
a politician who handed control of his constituents' lives to corporations and then got paid $350,000 a time to have dinner with their boards of directors;
a farmer who grew a smallholding into a sustainable, organic farming village with good biodiversity and civic amenities
and a veterinarian who shoots pumpkins on YouTube ...

... the farmer does seem like the best choice.

You do realize that farmers are one of the biggest welfare Queens in the world right? This isn't a kindly old grandpa looking over his 40 acres and a mule. These are controllers of vast tracts of land who get billions in subsidies. So no, not necessarily the best choice.

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Re: Panama Papers

Postby Sableagle » Wed Apr 06, 2016 4:30 pm UTC

leady wrote:given that "agriculture" in Iceland will almost certainly mean "fisheries" an organic crazy man would likely starve all 250k of them to death :)


Now that's a great idea. How do we go about persuading ISIS to try to live entirely on sustainably-caught deep-sea fish for the next six months?
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Re: Panama Papers

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Apr 06, 2016 5:32 pm UTC

Sableagle wrote:and a veterinarian who shoots pumpkins on YouTube ...


This guy sounds interesting.

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Re: Panama Papers

Postby duckshirt » Wed Apr 06, 2016 10:11 pm UTC

lol everything matters
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Re: Panama Papers

Postby ObsessoMom » Wed Apr 06, 2016 11:38 pm UTC



But what else would Russia Today say? From its Wikipedia article:

RT has been called a propaganda outlet for the Russian Government[10][11][12] and its foreign policy[10][13][12][14] by news reporters,[15] including former RT reporters.[16][17][18] RT has also been accused of spreading disinformation.[19][20][21][22] The United Kingdom media regulator, Ofcom, has repeatedly found RT to have breached rules on impartiality, and of broadcasting "materially misleading" content.

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Re: Panama Papers

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Apr 06, 2016 11:43 pm UTC

https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/717670056650530816

Here's the tweet directly.

I have serious doubts to RT's integrity. So I think its best if we just went straight to the source. It seems like the above Wikileaks twitter account is valid.

In any case, I'm not very familiar with USAID. If it was like, Voice of America, or something that had wishy-washy connections with the CIA, I'd be more concerned. But I dunno much about USAID itself. Looks like a more or less benevolent arm of foreign aid. Seems strange for them to be involved in funding this.
Last edited by KnightExemplar on Wed Apr 06, 2016 11:46 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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sardia
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Re: Panama Papers

Postby sardia » Wed Apr 06, 2016 11:46 pm UTC


It's from RT, aka Putin's speakerphone, take it with a grain of salt.

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Re: Panama Papers

Postby Mambrino » Thu Apr 07, 2016 1:06 am UTC

If "USAID funding icij.org" is the smoking gun the Wikileaks claims to have found, I start to question Wikileaks' integrity even more than before.

Apparently there is a common, weird attitude towards establishment corruption revelations in Russian media / public: they doesn't care who bamboozled billions of government money. If someone has direct proof that there's skeletons in Putin's closet, the important thing isn't the skeleton: it's the who is pointing out the skeleton - "they are committing a propaganda attack!". I can't wrap my head around why on Earth this seems to work.

edit. I mean, if there wouldn't be gigantic shitton of real Panamian documents, they wouldn't have needed a couple of hundred journalists searching through them for a year. But whoever cares about that? USAID supported journalist network that includes most of the most respected media and journalists in the West, this is a CIA action!

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Re: Panama Papers

Postby leady » Thu Apr 07, 2016 9:42 am UTC

the Russians (and much of eastern Europe) have a mindset that corruption exists and as such it better that the "king" controls it all and suppresses pretenders brutally. I can half see the logic. As an Englander my first exposure to the casual acceptance of corruption in other countries was kind of "what? Corruption exists and everyone just accepts it?"

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Re: Panama Papers

Postby Djehutynakht » Thu Apr 07, 2016 1:43 pm UTC

So apparently the PM of Iceland didn't technically resign, he, like, temporarily stepped back, pretending to resign while not actually doing so.

Man, this is like Sepp Blatter's move with FIFA.


Iceland's Pirate Party currently leads the polls, however.

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Re: Panama Papers

Postby KnightExemplar » Sat Apr 09, 2016 2:35 pm UTC

http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/order-fr ... utin-gaddy

Nope guys, its Russia who is behind the panama papers. (Not that I 100% believe this blogpost, but no story is complete without accusations towards US AND Russia)
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sardia
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Re: Panama Papers

Postby sardia » Sat Apr 09, 2016 4:06 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/order-from-chaos/posts/2016/04/07-panama-papers-putin-gaddy

Nope guys, its Russia who is behind the panama papers. (Not that I 100% believe this blogpost, but no story is complete without accusations towards US AND Russia)

That blogger is a moron, and his publisher should be embarrassed that they publish his books. The guy doesn't even know why Americans don't use Panama as a tax haven. Panama has a information sharing agreement that shuts the door on American financial institutions because they'll snitch to the IRS.

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Re: Panama Papers

Postby Mambrino » Mon Apr 11, 2016 4:00 am UTC

Le Monde: Mossack Fonseca abused the name of Red Cross and WWF to conceal their customers' monies.

edit. Wait, the news article referring to ^that Le Monde article mentioned WWF but I don't see it in the original.
edit.2. WWF connection is reported by "Le Matin Dimanche", quoted by le Monde at the end. But Red Cross is the interesting one, because abusing its symbols and name violates the laws of war and all of the oldest international contracts.


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