The secret wealth and offshore financial arrangements of the world’s rich and powerful – including politicians, celebrities and billionaires, has been exposed in what is believed to be the biggest data leak in history.
The Pandora Papers
Branded the Pandora Papers, this leak – which was launched on Monday, shines a light on the hidden operations of a global offshore economy that allows the rich to hide their wealth – and in many cases, pay little or no tax.
How it happened
It all began when an anonymous source shared 2.94 terabytes of confidential financial files – including nearly 12 million documents that span five decades, with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists – the ICIJ.
Over the past 18 months, more than 600 journalists from 150 media outlets globally, including in Australia and New Zealand.
These outlets will publish the findings over the coming days.
More than 100 billionaires feature in the leaked data, as well as 35 current and former country leaders across five continents.
The data – which features emails, memos, incorporation records, share certificates, compliance reports, invoices and passports, reveal the use of shell companies to hold luxury items, methods of tax evasion, and the use of incognito bank accounts, amongst many other measures.
What it means
While the use of offshore entities is not illegal, the secrecy it provides can give way to illicit money flows, money laundering, tax evasion, terrorism and other human rights abuses.
These Papers are the latest in a string of leaks over the past 7 years, following the FinCen Files, the Paradise Papers, the Panama Papers and LuxLeaks.
The leak is expected to yield new findings for years to come – and will likely intensify the international debate about offshore finance, amidst rising concerns about economic inequality.
We can help
At One AML, we hope that the investigation will open up new avenues of transparency and will prove to be another setback for corruption.
We look forward to seeing new findings emerge over the coming months.
If you would like to learn more about what these revelations mean for you, get in touch with our team of AML/CFT(CTF) specialists today.