The Pandora Papers, a massive exhibition of the secret games and tax evasion schemes of the world’s ultra-rich, have just made headlines around the world. See initial coverage here in The Washington Post and The Guardian.
This colossal endeavor involved 600 journalists from 117 countries and was coordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in what they describe as “the greatest journalistic collaboration of all time.”
Five and a half years ago, the ICIJ released the Panama Papers, which focused on a leak from a single law firm, Mossack Fonseca. According to Gerald Ryle, director of the ICIJ, the Pandora Papers are the “Panama Papers on steroids”. See a summary prepared by the ICIJ here.
The Pandora Papers rely on leaks from confidential files of 14 different offshore wealth management service companies in Switzerland, Singapore, Cyprus, Samoa, Vietnam, Hong Kong, as well as companies in Heaven well-known tax authorities such as Belize, Seychelles, Bahamas and British Virgin Islands. These companies help high net worth individuals and businesses set up trusts, foundations, incorporate companies, and establish other entities in low tax or non-tax jurisdictions.
The Pandora Papers are based on nearly 12 million files from these companies, including leaked emails, memos, tax returns, bank statements, passport scans, schematics of corporate structures. business, secret spreadsheets and underground real estate contracts. Some are revealing for the first time the true owners of blackout shell companies.
Over the past three months, I have spoken confidentially with ICIJ reporters from Mexico, Argentina, Spain, Sweden, Germany and the UK, explaining to them how the cover-up systems work. wealth in the United States. From my new book, The Wealth Hoarders: How billionaires pay millions to hide billions, I explained the role of the United States and the global wealth advocacy industry in the sequestration of wealth. (See this June interview on the book on the ICIJ website).
The Pandora Papers are truly a global story, with major implications in many countries. Some of the biggest revelations concern Russian nationals with ties to Vladimir Putin and elites in Latin America.
For example, journalists from the Spanish daily El Pais unveiled the “secret safe deposit box of Mexican billionaires”. In Mexico, they found more than 3,000 wealthy and powerful Mexicans in the 11.9 million leaked files, with links to current and previous presidents. They discovered a common pattern of wealthy Mexican elites using a single Panamanian law firm, Alcogal (Aleman, Cordero, Galindo & Lee), as well as trusts in the British Virgin Islands and real estate purchases in Miami and the States. -United.