On this day in 2016, the Panama Papers were published, revealing information regarding 214 488 offshore entities.
The information contained within the Panama Papers detailed the personal financial information of companies and wealthy individuals under the shell corporations of ‘Mossack Fonseca’, a Panamanian law firm, providing the legality required to ensure those involved were largely above prosecution.
The papers were revealed by a whistle-blower under the pseudonym ‘John Doe’ who cited income inequality as the primary reason for the leak:
Income inequality is one of the defining issues of our time. It affects all of us, the world over. The debate over its sudden acceleration has raged for years, with politicians, academics and activists alike helpless to stop its steady growth despite countless speeches, statistical analyses, a few meagre protests, and the occasional documentary. Still, questions remain: why? And why now?
Due to the sheer volume of information, Journalists from 107 media organisations spanning 80 countries analysed the details of the documents in order to better understand the content and the gravity of implications. Thus the project has also been defining in the use of collaborative journalism and software.
The revelations of the published papers were marked by the presence of several key world figures. For example, assets linked to David Cameron as well as other prominent leaders such as Petro Poroshenko, Salman bin Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al Saud, Sergey Roldugin were found alongside 3500 suspected criminals. The involvement of government officials can be found to be particularly ironic considering statements from those involved relating to fighting corruption and tax evasion:
Individuals and businesses must pay their fair share
To read more about the Panama Papers:
http://panamapapers.sueddeutsche.de/articles/572c897a5632a39742ed34ef/ (The manifesto of John Doe; the whistle-blower.)
https://offshoreleaks.icij.org/ (an offshore leaks database allowing you to search through the papers.)