Dabbling in dubious transactions to evade taxes, and transferring ill-gotten wealth to safe havens is an age-old practice of shady, ultra-rich tycoons. The explosive Panama papers, however, has exposed a roll of dishonor, featuring not only corrupt businessmen, but also a number of world leaders.
The 11.5 million documents, compiled by Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm and corporate service provider, reveals the dealing in offshore companies by 72 former and current heads of state – so far.
The data, covering 40 years of offshore accounts from 1977 to 2015, sharing details of around 15,600 companies, was provided by a German source to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
High-profile wheeler-dealers in the list include Iceland’s Prime Minister, relatives of Chinese premier Xi Jinping, friends of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Arab leaders Hosni Mubarak, Colonel Gaddafi, and Bashar al Assad.
Many countries have already announced the initiation of probes to determine wrongdoing, but in the ‘land of the pure’, it’s the usual tale of denial and ‘business as usual’.