The Internet has been abuzz with the leaks of secret documents called Panama Papers since it’s the first articles were released at 20:00 MEST (Middle European Saving Time). The leaks are said to be the biggest secret data leak in history having 2, 6 TB of data, a total of 11.5 million documents leaked by an anonymous insider.
The documents related to tax evasion of thousands of companies, individuals from all across the world leaked from a small, relatively unknown Panamanian law firm called Mossack Fonseca.
A Reddit post has already fired up in the web world containing an overview of the revelations and leaked documents so far. As per the post, a Munich based newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung was offered the documents but due to the large number of secret documents they turned into an international research effort, spearheaded by the International Consortium for Investigative Journalism (ICIJ) with around 200 partners.
Regarding offshore bank accounts and their legality, The Guardian writes,
“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."
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.”
The Panama Papers unveiled include several heads of state/government, close family, friends, celebrities, sports personalities and other influential people from all over the globe. Here is the list of companies involved in creating 10 offshore jurisdictions including the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands, and Singapore.