Sunday, May 8, 2016

Panama Papers: Tax dodger database to name names

The secret identities of the people behind more than 200,000 anonymous offshore entities found inside the Panama Papers are being made public.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, and its only Canadian partners, the Toronto Star and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., are releasing a searchable database of the companies, trusts and foundations online on May 9 at 2 p.m.

The data comes from the controversial Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, one of the biggest players in the grey zone of offshore financing. The information will include the names of directors, shareholders and beneficial owners — the real owners of a company, even though their names might not appear on the shareholder register — kept secret by confidentiality laws in tax havens. This is basic information that would be public if the corporations had been registered in more transparent jurisdictions.

The Panama Papers leak was originally received by the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung. It shared the 11.5 million documents with the ICIJ and select journalism partners under the understanding the material was of great public interest.

More than 400 journalists, including members from the Guardian, the Miami Herald, the BBC and Le Monde, worked together for months to investigate the secretive world of high finance and those working behind the scenes to enable crime and corruption.

The released database will reveal the true owners and directors of the offshore firms, but will not include records of bank accounts and financial transactions, emails, passports, other correspondence and phone numbers, the ICIJ said.  (more...)


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