World leaders implicated in ‘Panama Papers’ tax avoidance scandal

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Over the weekend 11.5 millions documents were leaked from Panama based law firm Mossack Fonseca to Germany’s biggest selling newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which implicates world leaders and senior politicians in a global tax avoidance scandal.

The files, christened ‘The Panama Papers’ contain passports, correspondence and financial records stretching back 40 years detailing 214,000 offshore entities across more than 200 countries.

A string of high profile leaders have been linked to the scandal including Mauricio Macri – The President of Argentina, Petro Poroshenko – The President of Ukraine and Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson – The Prime Minister of Iceland who may face a snap election at the news.

In the UK, senior Conservative MPs have been linked to the scandal including the MP Lord Ashcroft and MP Michael Mates. David Cameron’s late father Ian Cameron has also been linked to the scandal with several major newspapers claiming that he hid millions from HMRC in Panama based offshore funds.

The UK government has taken an increasingly aggressive stance on the importance of clamping down on tax avoidance through offshore funds. Last year David Cameron gave a strongly worded speech to the Jamacian Parliament on the issue saying:

“If we’re to beat corruption, we need transparency. I’ve taken the lead by pledging much more transparency over property and company ownership in the UK so that terrorists, tax-avoiders, money launderers and criminals have nowhere to hide their ill-gotten gains.

“Some of the British crown dependences and overseas territories are making progress in this direction. Others, frankly, are not moving anywhere near fast enough.

“I say to them all today, including those in this region, if we want to break the business model of stealing money and hiding it in places where it can’t be seen: transparency is the answer.”

The biggest name implicated in the papers so far is Russian President Vladimir Putin who UK newspaper The Guardian have linked to a $2bn offshore fund set-up by friends of the premier.

With over 2.6 terrabytes of data to analyse, more than Edward Snowden’s NSA files and US diplomatic papers released by Wikielaks in 2010, The Panama Papers story looks set to run for some time and could shed light on the financial arrangements of many more high profile figures.

See our recommended links below for the full background on the story:

What Are The Panama Papers?

Panama Papers – The Power Players

Tory peers, former MPs and party donors implicated in tax haven leak

aatadmin is AAT Comment’s news writer.

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