Fallout begins in the wake of the #PanamaPapers

Some of the world’s wealthiest figures are in hot water after a law firm in Panama was hacked, revealing the shady business of offshore trading.

By Bronte Price, PoliticKING

Multiple news media outlets published articles on Sunday after 11.5 million leaked documents from a Panama law firm called Mossack Fonseca. The law firm helped some of the world’s wealthiest people, including multiple heads of state, establish offshore bank accounts.

In an article, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists said the documents revealed the offshore accounts of 140 politicians and public officials. This includes at least a dozen current and former world leaders and several people with close ties to Vladimir Putin. The organization said that there are reporters at at least 100 news media outlets, which are working in 25 languages, who are investigating the law firm, and its clients.

The first evidence of political fallout from the leak came in Iceland earlier today, when prime minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, resigned in the wake of the data leak. The leaked documents revealed that Gunnlaugsson and his wife, had set up a company in 2007 in the British Virgin Islands through Mossack Fonseca. He then sold his half of the company to her for $1 on the last day of 2009. In 2010, a new law went into effect that would have required him, as a member of Parliament, to declare his part of the ownership as a conflict of interest.

Gunnlaugsson’s resignation was announced on television Tuesday by Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson, a government minister, and was greeted with celebration by Icelanders who have been protesting against him since the release of the papers on Sunday.

President Obama called for international tax reform after the leak of the papers. “There is no doubt that the problem of global tax avoidance generally is a huge problem,” he told reporters at the White House on Tuesday. “The problem is that a lot of this stuff is legal, not illegal.”

“We shouldn’t make it legal to engage in transactions just to avoid taxes,” Obama said, instead insisting on “the basic principle of making sure everyone pays their fair share”.

Peter Carr, spokesman for the DoJ, also spoke out against the papers saying, “We are aware of the reports and are reviewing them.” He continued, “While we cannot comment on the specifics of these alleged documents, the US Department of Justice takes very seriously all credible allegations of high-level, foreign corruption that might have a link to the United States or the US financial system.”


On Monday, Mossack Fonseca released a statement, "Our industry is not particularly well understood by the public, and unfortunately this series of articles will only serve to deepen that confusion.” The statement continued, “The facts are these: while we may have been the victim of a data breach, nothing we've seen in this illegally obtained cache of documents suggests we've done anything illegal, and that's very much in keeping with the global reputation we've built over the past 40 years of doing business the right way, right here in Panama. Obviously, no one likes to have their property stolen, and we intend to do whatever we can to ensure the guilty parties are brought to justice.”

Here’s what Jesse Ventura has to say about internationals trading and the nature of leaked information:

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