Panama Leaks – A Storm Yet To Come

Panama Leaks – A Storm Yet To Come

What are the Panama papers? Who is Mossack Fonseca? Why exactly do Panama papers matter? What drives the famous celebrities and leaders around the world to be on their tiptoes?

Panama papers contain information of all the ‘big fish’ who either want to hide their money away from the wives that are going to be ex-wives or want to avoid any sanctions or evade taxes.

Mossak Fonseca is among those companies that help such ‘big fish’ in avoiding huge taxes and sanctions. Mossak also has clients hailing from the black market of money laundering. The process is very simple; all one needs to do is register an offshore shelf company that means a company that exists only in papers. The question is, why go for shelf companies at all? Simply, these companies come with many perks, such as banking secrecy and zero to very low taxes. Panama is among those havens that help such owners in hiding their identity and still enjoy the perks.

But authorities (and disgruntled ex-wives) just caught a break. Over 11m documents got leaked from Mossack’s secretive offices and were recently made public by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The findings of the investigation made by the ICIJ were focused on the subject of ‘help provided by the concerned firm’ to their clients, wittingly or unwittingly, to evade or avoid tax, launder money or mask its origins. More noticeable and astonishing than their methods – which are well known – was the scale of activity and the people involved in this malpractice.

The data involved is 2.6 terabytes and contains information of about 214,500 companies present in around 20 offshore jurisdictions. Moreover, these companies are named over 14,000 middlemen that include banks and law firms.

Although by no means are all of the records criminal or shady, but there is a naughty list which has grabbed the attention of public at large. This list includes the names of the Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Pakistan’s Nawaz Sharif and Iceland’s Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, who are suspected of hiding their ownership of offshore assets by putting them under the names of friends and relatives.

Mr. Nawaz Sharif from Pakistan and Mr. Putin from Russia have turned down all allegations and attributed them to anti-Nawaz propaganda and Putinphobia.

Whatever point is made by these elites, this leak has really put a question on the current world economy’s downfall in many countries, especially the developing ones.

The leaders of these developing countries with huge accumulation of personal wealth are ruling nations that have half of the population living under the poverty line.

Humanity is facing the biggest challenge of corruption against its survival. Panama leaks are the silent call to all those people from the developing world to take a step forward and speak out against such social evils that are disguised in elite suits. Actions speak louder than words indeed.


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of or any organization with which she might be associated.

Zarmina Siraj Ul Haq

Author: Zarmina Siraj Ul Haq

The writer is a professional researcher and an independent legal consultant, practising in the areas of business and corporate law since 2012. She has also served as a legal researcher and project manager in a UK based company. She has been writing through different platforms since 2009, including Management Paradise, and Google Blogger.