Unpacking The Panama Papers

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A massive leak of more than 11 million documents reveals a global web of corruption and tax hidden wealth. What we’re learning about the Panama Papers.

People gather to demonstrate against Iceland's prime minister, in Reykjavik on Monday April 4, 2016. Iceland's prime minister insisted Monday he would not resign after documents leaked in a media investigation allegedly link him to an offshore company that could represent a serious conflict of interest, according to information leaked from a Panamanian law firm at the center of an international tax evasion scheme. (AP Photo/Brynjar Gunnarsson)
People gather to demonstrate against Iceland's prime minister, in Reykjavik on Monday April 4, 2016.  (AP Photo/Brynjar Gunnarsson)

Everybody’s talking about the Panama Papers. The biggest leak of financial data in history, and it’s all about the shadowy world of hidden offshore money. Wealth. Terabytes of data lighting up the hidden finances of presidents and prime ministers. Celebrities. Soccer stars. FIFA. A cellist who is the best friend of Vladimir Putin and two billion offshore dollars. The prime minister of Iceland has resigned. This hour On Point, hidden wealth, and the story told by the Panama Papers.
-- Tom Ashbrook


Gerard Ryle, investigative journalist and director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists at the Center for Public Integrity. Lead the ICIJ's Panama Papers investigation. (@RyleGerard)

Luke Harding, foreign correspondent for the Guardian and member of the Panama Papers reporting team. Author of "A Very Expensive Poison" and "Mafia State." (@lukeharding1968)

Ian Bremmer, political scientist and president and founder of the Eurasia Group. Global research professor at New York University and foreign affairs columnist for TIME Magazine. Author of "Superpower." (@ianbremmer)

From Tom’s Reading List

ICIJ: Giant Leak of Offshore Financial Records Exposes Global Array of Crime and Corruption — "A massive leak of documents exposes the offshore holdings of 12 current and former world leaders and reveals how associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin secretly shuffled as much as $2 billion through banks and shadow companies. The leak also provides details of the hidden financial dealings of 128 more politicians and public officials around the world."

The Guardian: What are the Panama Papers? A guide to the biggest data leak in history — "The Panama Papers are an unprecedented leak of 11.5m files from the database of the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca...The documents show the myriad ways in which the rich can exploit secretive offshore tax regimes. Twelve national leaders are among 143 politicians, their families and close associates from around the world known to have been using offshore tax havens."

BBC News: Panama Papers: Leaks spur global investigations — "Iceland's Prime Minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, is also shown to have had an undeclared interest linked to his wife's wealth. By Monday afternoon, 24,000 people in Iceland had signed a petition demanding his resignation, and a protest was expected in Reykjavik later. Mr Gunnlaugsson has ruled out stepping down. The leaked documents also show that Ian Cameron, the late father of UK Prime Minister David Cameron, was a Mossack Fonseca client."

This program aired on April 5, 2016.


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