The Panama Papers are a leaked set of 11.5 million confidential documents that provide detailed information about more than 214,000 offshore companies listed by the Panamanian corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca, including the identities of shareholders and directors of the companies. The documents show how wealthy individuals, including public officials, hide their money from public scrutiny.
- John Doe: Hello. This is John Doe. Interested in data?
Süddeutsche Zeitung: We're very interested.
John Doe: There are a couple of conditions. My life is in danger. We will only chat over encrypted files. No meeting, ever. The choice of stories is obviously up to you.
Süddeutsche Zeitung: Why are you doing this?
John Doe: I want to make these crimes public.
Süddeutsche Zeitung: How much data are we talking about?
John Doe: More than anything you have ever seen.
- The cat's out of the bag... So now we have to deal with the aftermath.
- Jurgen Mossack, lawyer at Mossack Fonseca (Bloomberg)
- It has not been a great week. I know that I should have handled this better, I could have handled this better... I know there are lessons to learn and I will learn them... Don't blame Number 10 Downing Street or nameless advisers, blame me... I want to be open... I was obviously very angry about what people were saying about my dad. I loved my dad, I miss him every day... He was a wonderful father and I'm very proud of everything he did. But I mustn't let that cloud the picture. The facts are these: I bought shares in a unit trust, shares that are like any other sorts of shares and I paid taxes on them in exactly the same way... I sold those shares. In fact, I sold all the shares that I owned, on becoming prime minister... Later on I will be publishing the information that goes into my tax return, not just for this year but the years gone past because I want to be completely open and transparent about these things... I will be the first prime minister, the first leader of a major political party, to do that and I think it is the right thing to do.
- Everything I’m doing is legal, it’s a perfectly legitimate structure.
- Konrad izzi, Cabinet Minister and Member of Parliament for Malta; he was rejecting the suggestion that full banking secrecy might not be a good look for an officeholder with access to Treasury funds (Malta Today)
- In tax havens, boundaries between what’s legal and illegal become very blurred. The recent leak on the Panama Papers revealed how international leaders, celebrities and businessmen from all over the world were using offshore companies to avoid making their assets public and, in some cases, potentially to dodge tax or hide illegal activities. Panama is where criminal capitalism and legal capitalism become one.