Panama papers exposes offshore accounts of world leaders, celebrities

Panama leaks

In the biggest ever investigation into offshore financial dealings of the rich and famous, an international coalition of more than 100 media outlets published documents that exposed the involvement of some of the most famous world leaders, businessmen, criminals, celebrities and sports stars. A cache of 11.5 million records have detailed the offshore holdings of the rich and famous. The data concerned internal documents from a Panama based law firm, Mossack Fonseca.

Some of the most prominent people named in the list include Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Argentine football star Lionel Messi, Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, owner of DLF group K.P. Singh to name a few. The investigation into the documents by more than 100 media groups is said to be the largest such probe in history. It revealed the hidden offshore dealings in the assets of around 140 political figures, including 12 current or former heads of states.

Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela issued a statement saying that his government would cooperate “vigorously” with any judicial investigation arising from the leak of the law firm’s documents. Emphasising on the revelations, Mr Varela said that it shouldn’t detract from his government’s “zero tolerance” for any illicit activities in Panama’s finance industry.

From India, ‘The Indian Express’ was part of the global investigation and it said that many Indian industrialists and celebrities were named in the documents. The International Consortium of International Journalism (ICIJ) said that the documents included emails, financial spreadsheets, passports and corporate records. The ICIJ emphasised the documents showed how powerful people used banks, law firms and offshore shell companies to hide their assets.

“It allows a never-before-seen view inside the offshore world providing a day-to-day, decade-by-decade look at how dark money flows through the global financial system, breeding crime and stripping national treasuries of tax revenues,” the ICIJ said.