Panama Papers: the plot thickens
9 May 2016
Back in April, the Panama Papers rocked the world, exposing just how the global elite use offshore trusts in tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands, Panama and the Bahamas to hide their wealth and dodgy deals. Thanks to an anonymous whistleblower who leaked a huge amount of data from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, we now have evidence of the extent of global tax avoidance.
The consequences have been far-reaching; we’ve had high profile resignations, raids and some improved regulation, as well as mass protests and corporate firings. And that’s just for starters.
A new leak…
On Tuesday May 10th, a new trove of top secret information from the Panama Papers hit the web. It’s likely to be the largest ever leak of secret offshore funds and the people behind them.
Previously, the leaked documents were only handed to a small number of journalists. But now a huge list of the offshore companies and the names of their owners – who used Mossack Fonseca – is available for us all to search through. In fact, the database is so huge that the world’s journalists and those working on it need as much help as they can get to uncover more of the Panama Papers’ secrets.
Would you like to have a go at uncovering the next big story? We’d love to hear from you…
Sounds good! What can I do?
Good on you. This is a chance for people like you to continue the investigation, and to help expose those exploiting the planet for profit.
If you have a little time to spare, you can help to sift through the data and see if you can uncover any leads. If you discover something juicy, there’s an opportunity to shine some light on the darker corners of global finance and unearth some great stories.
So what exactly am I looking for? And how do I search?
We’re looking for people and organisations who have links to offshore trusts. We’re talking about the usual suspects – wealthy politicians, polluting companies, organisations involved in deforestation or ocean exploitation, or individuals you know are connected to those companies. It could be someone Greenpeace has campaigned on before, or someone entirely new. It’s up to you.
Just go to the ICIJ database, and run your list of names through the search engine. You can search by country, jurisdiction or names (tip: try different spellings to find more results). There’s some more detailed advice on the ICIJ website.
If available, you’ll get a graphic (like the one below) showing any offshore trusts registered to your target. Then let us know what you found!
It’s useful to keep in mind there can be legitimate and legal explanations for using offshore trusts. At worst though, they can help individuals and companies to avoid paying their fair share, and even to hide bribes and dodgy underworld payments.
We can’t guarantee we’ll be able to turn every bit of information into a story. But together we can follow the best leads and see where they go. We’ll also keep your information completely confidential, unless you tell us otherwise.
How can I contact you?
Simple – just drop an email to [email protected] with what you’ve found, or any questions, and we’ll be in touch. Happy hunting!