Millions of vital offshore documents on global elites have been released to the public over the weekend, bringing offshore accounts into the public eye once again.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) officially released the Pandora Papers, a major data leak containing nearly 12 millions documents that display how the world’s richest individuals use offshore accounts to hide their wealth.
ICIJ found information on notable politicians, businesspeople, fugitives, and others that have used offshore accounts in recent times for various reasons, including fraud, tax evasion, and other illegal activity. Some notable individuals included in the papers are the King of Jordan and Vladimir Putin. Most individuals named thus far are located outside the United States.
While offshore accounts are not necessarily illegal themselves, they are often used to commit illegal activities. For instance, many criminals use offshore accounts to complete money laundering transactions. We saw money laundering brought to light in ICIJ’s release of the FinCEN Files leak last year.
Offshore accounts also allow global elites to evade taxes, which clearly poses legal issues worldwide. This tactic has been in practice for decades and continues to take place as individuals and companies hide their wealth from governments across the globe.
Impact of Pandora Papers
Some wonder whether the publicly leaked information will do any good in society. While few global elites are punished by their actions, it may have a significant impact.
If we look back on the Panama Papers released in 2016, we recall that many individuals and companies with close ties to the activity were subsequently investigated and punished for their actions. For instance, the notorious Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonesca was raided by authorities and eventually shut down after the Panama Papers revealed the firm’s role in helping clients evade taxes and participate in money laundering and fraud worldwide.
Although there was not a sweeping investigation into every party involved or mentioned in the Panama Papers, the document leak brought the issue into the public eye. To put things in perspective, the Pandora Papers investigation is more than double the size of the Panama Papers, which may have a stronger impact than the Panama Papers.
For more in-depth information into the Pandora Papers, please visit ICIJ’s official investigation into the matter. We will update you on this developing story as more information is released.