Saturday, July 13, 2024

Panama Papers Source Cites ‘Income Inequality’ in Justifying Leak

The anonymous source behind the leak of the Panama Papers said that "income inequality is one of the defining issues of our time," and cited the need for governments to do more to address the issue.

Days before the information is to be made available to the public, the source released an 1,800-word statement to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) that gave justification or motive for the leak.

"Banks, financial regulators and tax authorities have failed. Decisions have been made that have spared the wealthy while focusing instead on reining in middle- and low-income citizens," the source wrote.

Leak of documents

In early April, media organizations wrote about the largest leak in history of data on secret offshore companies. Called the Panama Papers, the 11.5 million documents belonged to the Mossack Fonseca law firm in Panama and showed how the firm helped some wealthy people set up offshore firms, which often are used to hide assets and avoid taxes and sanctions.

FILE - A Mossack Fonseca law firm logo is pictured in Panama City, April 3, 2016

FILE - A Mossack Fonseca law firm logo is pictured in Panama City, April 3, 2016

The Panamanian firm has denied any wrongdoing.

The ICIJ, a global network of nearly 200 investigative journalists who collaborate on watchdog-style stories, worked with the leaked documents for months.

Reporters working on the project revealed the hidden assets of hundreds of politicians, officials, current and former national leaders, celebrities and sports stars. The ICIJ also listed more than 200,000 shell companies, foundations and trusts set up in tax havens around the world.

Monday at 6 PM UTC (2 PM EDT) , the ICIJ will release a searchable database to the public. It can be found at: https://offshoreleaks.icij.org.

The documents detail ties between 368,000 people and 300,000 offshore entities, the ICIJ said.

"You'll see companies and their official owners. This is information that's never been available," said Marina Walker Guevara, ICIJ deputy director. "We think that information about who owns the company should be public and transparent."

Seeks immunity

The source, who uses the pseudonym "John Doe," offered to help law enforcement officials in prosecutions related to offshore money laundering and tax evasion, but only in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

The anonymous source behind the Panama Papers speaks to justifications for the massive leak of offshore documents in a statement, "The Revolution Will Be Digitized."

The anonymous source behind the Panama Papers speaks to justifications for the massive leak of offshore documents in a statement, "The Revolution Will Be Digitized."

The source's statement noted that, so far, only copies of the incriminating documents had been leaked. "Thousands of prosecutions could stem from the Panama Papers, if only law enforcement could access and evaluate the actual documents," the source said. "I ...would be willing to cooperate with law enforcement to the extent that I am able."

However, the source, whose gender is unknown, also cited the need for better whistle-blower protections.

"Legitimate whistle-blowers who expose unquestionable wrongdoing, whether insiders or outsiders, deserve immunity from government retribution," the source said, speaking for the first time about the leak. "I have watched as one after another, whistle-blowers and activists in the United States and Europe have had their lives destroyed by the circumstances they find themselves in after shining a light on obvious wrongdoing."

Süddeutsche Zeitung, the German newspaper that helped bring the documents to worldwide attention, verified that the statement came from the source.

The statement was released to the media on Friday -- the same day U.S. President Barack Obama issued his administration's Customer Due Diligence rule. The proposed legislation would require the financial industry to identify the real owners of shell companies to help prevent corruption, the hiding of assets and tax evasion.

VOA service

The ICIJ published the source's statement, titled "The Revolution Will Be Digitized," on its website.

The title is similar to a 1970 poem and song by Gil Scott-Heron called "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," which made a case against complacency, and American consumerism and capitalism.

VOA's Zimbabwe Service was a reporting partner with the ICIJ.

Reporter Ray Choto focused on information in the leaked documents alleging that Zimbabwe's leading platinum mining firm, Zimplats Holdings, used an offshore company to pay management salaries without the knowledge of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and in violation of exchange control laws.

Source link

Red
Author: Red

Related Articles

spot_img

Latest Articles

s2Member®