'Panama Papers' Data Dump Dwarfs Cablegate and Snowden Leaks

Financial Services // Government (Foreign) // Panama

The excavation of internal records from a database at the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca, reveals how the rich allegedly abuse secret offshore tax regimes. The files were obtained from an anonymous source by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The consortium then shared them with more than 100 international partners, including the Guardian and the BBC.

Twelve national leaders are among 143 politicians, their families and close associates from around the world known to have been using offshore tax havens, though not all are illegal. One $2 billion trail leads to Vladimir Putin.

The leak is one of the biggest ever – larger than the U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks in 2010, and the secret intelligence documents given to journalists by Edward Snowden in 2013. There are 11.5 million documents and 2.6 terabytes of information drawn from Mossack Fonseca’s database.

"The Russian president’s best friend – a cellist called Sergei Roldugin – is at the centre of a scheme in which money from Russian state banks is hidden offshore. Some of it ends up in a ski resort where in 2013 Putin’s daughter Katerina got married," according to the Guardian.

The Guardian describes Mossack Fonseca as a firm whose services include incorporating companies in offshore jurisdictions, like the British Virgin Islands, for a yearly fee.