The document leak toppling world leaders
The so-called Panama Papers story has been simmering since Sunday. Supposedly a massive document leak, the Panama Papers appear to implicate some of the most powerful people in the world.
300 journalists pored through more than 11 million pages of documents to get to the bottom of the story.
The Panama Papers are quite literally bringing down world leaders like Iceland’s Prime Minister who resigned Tuesday after the papers were published.
The prime minister of Iceland said Tuesday he would resign following mass protests triggered by reports from ICIJ and partners that he had owned an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands with his wife, Icelandic state media reported.
Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson said he would stay on as chairman of the Progressive Party but tapped Sigurdur Ingi Johansson, his minister of agriculture, to be the next prime minister, in a bid to save the ruling coalition. At the time of writing, his resignation had not yet been accepted by the Iceland’s president.
Gunnlaugsson, who came to power in 2013 promising to put the national interest over financial interests after the 2008 collapse of its financial system, failed to disclose when he entered parliament in 2009 that he had owned millions of dollars worth of bonds in the collapsed banks as half-owner of an offshore company called Wintris Inc.
That violated parliamentary ethics rules and was an undisclosed conflict of interest. Gunnlaugsson sold his half of Wintris to his wife, Anna Sigurlaug Palsdottir on the last day of 2009. Palsdottir, a wealthy heiress, has said Wintris was hers all along and that a bank error resulted in her husband being listed as co-owner.
CNN has the Panama Paper primer:
What are the Panama Papers?
ICIJ and an international coalition of media outlets investigated the trove of papers, which allegedly reveal a clandestine network involving associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and business ties between a member of FIFA’s ethics committee and men whom the United States has indicted for corruption.
Why are they called the Panama Papers?
The more-than 11 million documents, which date back four decades, are allegedly connected to Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca. ICIJ reports that the firm helped establish secret shell companies and offshore accounts for global power players. ICIJ reports that a 2015 audit found that Mossack Fonseca knew the identities of the real owners of just 204 of 14,086 companies it had incorporated in Seychelles, an Indian Ocean archipelago often described as a tax haven.
And as Gerard Ryle, the director of ICIJ, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour: “These documents, if nothing else, raise an awful lot of questions.”
Who is implicated in the documents?
The documents reference 12 current or former world leaders, as well as 128 other politicians and public officials. In addition to allegations involving associates of Putin — the Russian leader isn’t himself mentioned by name in any of the documents — and FIFA, the papers also accuse the prime minister of Iceland, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, of having ties, through his wife, to an offshore company that were not properly disclosed, while Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri is alleged to have failed to disclose links to a company in his asset declarations.
The documents were leaked to Germany’s Suddeutsche Zeitung by an anonymous source. Suddeutsche Zeitung passed the documents on to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The anonymous leaker reportedly fears for his/her/their live(s).
Who’s implicated? Oh, just everyone.
These guys too.
The ICIJ published an interactive whodunnit site for your perusing pleasure.
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