Monday, April 25, 2016

Articles on ICIJ's Panama Papers and Ramifications (4/25/16)

Introduction:  The following Wikipedia entries may offer updated information from time to time:
  • Wikipedia entry on Panama Papers, here.
  • Wikipedia list of people named in Panama Papers, here.
In addition, this searchable list from the Sunday Times might be worth consulting from time to time.  Josh Boswell, Tom Wills, Andrew Rininsland, Panama papers: the names: Search our database of 37,000 names linked to Mossack Fonseca companies in the tax haven of Panama (Sunday Times 4/10/16), here.  The linked page offers at the bottom a downloadable zip file with the data, here, which includes a csv file which is apparently 102.54 MB in size (presumably this could be imported into an MS Excel file, although I have not yet done that) and a "README.TXT" file to explain certain matters about the data.  Apparently this file lists the companies and directors, shareholders, and legal agents for the companies.

Panama Papers: Mossack Fonseca raids seize 'large amount of evidence' (ABC News 4/22/16), here.
Panamanian investigators have raided a property used by Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the centre of a massive leak of offshore financial data, removing bags full of shredded documents as evidence, a local prosecutor said. 
"We have secured a large amount of evidence found in the location," said organised crime investigator Javier Caraballo. 
He said they also found many shredded papers, which they removed as evidence.
In a statement, Mossack Fonseca said it had digitised all its documents and that the shredded papers taken from its premises were bound for recycling. 
The law firm added that as a result of a previous search, prosecutors already had copies of all the documents they removed on Friday (local time).
Charles (Chuck) Rettig, US Launches Criminal Inquiry Into 200 US Citizens Named In The Panama Papers (Forbes 4/23/16), here.
The Panama Papers. A massive law firm data breach of otherwise secretive financial information identifying numerous high-ranking government and public officials around the world was recently disclosed online by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. (ICIJ). Almost forty years of confidential information from 1977 to December 2015 was somehow obtained by an anonymous source from the internal database of Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca & Co. and apparently includes approximately 11.46 million files comprising approximately 2.6 terabytes (the equivalent of approximately 600 DVDs) of otherwise confidential financial data. 
US Launches Criminal Inquiry into Several of the 200 US Citizens Named in the Panama Papers. The ICIJ has now confirmed that it received an email (published by the Guardian) from U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for the Southern SO +0.00% District of New York indicating that his office had “opened a criminal investigation regarding matters to which the Panama Papers are relevant.” Further, his office would greatly appreciate the opportunity to speak as soon as possible with any ICIJ employee or representative involved in the Panama Papers Project in order to discuss this matter further.” 
* * * * 
ICIJ Will Name Names in May.  In early May ICIJ will release the names of the more than 214,000 offshore entities incorporated by Mossack Fonseca and the people connected to them (as beneficiaries, shareholders or directors). The names – with links to more than 200 countries – will be added to the Offshore Leaks database (published in 2013), which already contains more than 100,000 companies that ICIJ obtained in a previous leak. 
But ICIJ Will NOT Share the Panama Papers with Governments.  The long-standing policy of ICIJ, and the parent organization, the Center for Public Integrity, is not to turn over such material. The ICIJ is not an arm of law enforcement and is not an agent of the government. Their statements affirm they are an independent reporting organization, served by and serving their members, the global investigative journalism community and the public.
Simon Bowers, Former PwC employees face trial over role in LuxLeaks scandal (Guardian 4/24/16), here.
Two former employees of PricewaterhouseCoopers accused of being behind the biggest ever leak of confidential corporate tax deals face criminal trial in Luxembourg on Tuesday. 
Antoine Deltour and a second man, who is expected to be named in court this week, are charged with carrying out the LuxLeaks theft, violating the Grand Duchy’s strict professional secrecy laws and other offences. Their criminal prosecution follows a complaint to Luxembourg’s public prosecutor by PwC. 
The LuxLeaks scandal, which transformed the debate on international tax reform, exposed how Luxembourg had for years been secretly sanctioning, on an industrial scale, aggressive cross-border tax avoidance by some of the world’s largest businesses.

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