Why is Panama Papers the biggest tax evasion scandal?

Revealed by the daily newspaper “Le Monde” on Sunday, April 3, 2016, the “Panama Papers” case is described as the biggest information leak in the history of journalism. It would also be the biggest tax evasion scandal ever to break into offshore finance. The details..

A first for data

Nearly 11.5 million documents from Mossack Fonseca’s archives are summarized as the “Panama Papers”. The largest data leak in history, with more than 2.6 terabytes of files, or about 2,600 GB, straight out of the cupboards of this Panamanian firm specializing in the creation of offshore companies. This information was examined by 370 journalists from 107 media outlets in 76 countries for nearly nine months before revealing the company’s tax evasion since its creation in 1977.

Thus, according to information gathered, this company alone managed more than 214,000 offshore companies for 38 years. Located in 21 tax havens, they provided more than 200 countries, including 12 heads of state, 128 high-ranking politicians, celebrities and billionaires, 29 of whom are in the Forbes ranking of the world’s richest people.

panama papers

Not comparable to SwissLeaks

Although already scandalous, the revelations about tax evasion at SwissLeaks (HSBC) in 2015 are far behind Panama Papers. Indeed, these are not special cases, but a real highlight on a global scale. Important names were mentioned, with implications from many countries such as Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Seychelles, or Luxembourg, among others. The information has been gradually transmitted by an anonymous source since 2015 to journalists in the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The data were then analyzed en masse by journalists from the Russian, American, Swiss, Brazilian, Indian, Brazilian and Japanese media, under the coordination of the Washington-based International Consortium for Investigative Journalism or ICIJ

Intelligently hidden frauds

If Mossack Fonseca has been able to build a true “Offshore” empire for 38 years, it is partly because the company has played games of concealment that are difficult to break through. Indeed, not all companies belonging to the “Panama Papers” are illegal, but some are perfectly declared. These legal companies then played the role of “front companies” to hide money laundering, bribery and tax evasion, behind which were the wealthy and heads of state. A truly opaque world that can remind us of the practices of the many crooks at the beginning of binary options.