Panama Papers include at least 36 Americans accused of fraud

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May 9, 2016

The journalism organization that received 11.5 million documents exposing the way global leaders hide their assets released a giant batch of those documents to the public on Monday.

May 9, 2016

The journalism organization that received 11.5 million documents exposing the way global leaders hide their assets released a giant batch of those documents to the public on Monday.

The International Consortium of Journalists did not release all the documents, which have become known as the Panama Papers and have already led to the downfall of one world leader and several financiers. Instead, the consortium conducted a "careful release" of documents that shields personal information of the people named, including bank account numbers, passport information, email addresses and telephone numbers.

Monday's release is big, with information on nearly 214,000 off-shore entities used by the rich and powerful around the world to avoid public scrutiny. Those off-shore accounts are legal but can be used to avoid taxes and hide criminal activity.

Until now, all the information from the Panama Papers was held by the consortium and more than 100 media organizations in over 80 countries working together on the project. Journalists at those publications have been publishing stories about the contents of the papers, but had not made the source material public until now.

That set off a frantic dive into the documents by politicians, business leaders, law enforcement officials and reporters to see if any new names are exposed by Monday's release.

A review of the law firm's internal files by the ICIJ and other media outlets identified companies tied to at least 36 Americans accused of fraud or other financial misconduct, the ICIJ reported.

The source of the leak is an anonymous person known only as "John Doe." He obtained 11.5 million internal documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca and provided it to Germany's Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

He wrote in the newspaper last week that thousands of prosecutions could come from a full release of the papers. "They should all be prosecuted accordingly with no special treatment," the source wrote.

The articles published by the consortium and its partner organizations,  have already led to the resignation of Iceland Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, forced British Prime Minister David Cameron to admit that he profited from his late father's offshore investment, and led to the ouster of top bankers in Austria and the Netherlands.

The consortium said the names of more than 360,000 people and companies exposed in the hack are available in their searchable database.


Courtesy: USA Today

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