Records on tens of thousands of largely secrecy-clad companies registered in the Bahamas, including thousands with ties to Canada, have been divulged en masse as one of the world's premier tax havens becomes the first to suffer a mass data leak since the Panama Papers.
The leaked data exposes the holdings of a number of current and former global cabinet ministers, and represents a black eye for a Caribbean country that, despite its modest size and population, has become a major magnet for international money flows and enjoys a cozy financial relationship with Canada.
The documents were leaked to the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung — the same media outlet that received the massive Panama Papers leak — and shared with the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), whose exclusive Canadian partners are CBC/Radio-Canada and the Toronto Star.
The records consist of ground-level data on offshore companies registered in the Bahamas: the names, creation dates, addresses and, in some cases, directors and owners of nearly 175,000 corporations, trusts and foundations set up between 1990 and this year. While those records could previously be accessed one at a time by paying a $10 fee each, the ICIJ has now made them freely available in bulk in a publicly searchable online database — a step that global transparency and anti-corruption advocates have long said is essential to pull back the curtain on the shadowy world of offshore finance. (more...)