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What Are the Panama Papers?

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Panama Papers are a leaked set of 11.5 million confidential documents that has lifted the lid on how the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth.

The files were leaked from one of the world’s most secretive companies, a Panamanian law firm called Mossack Fonseca.

The documents show how wealthy individuals, including public officials, hide their money from public scrutiny.What are Panama Papers


At the time of publication, the papers identified five then-heads of state or government leaders from Argentina, Iceland, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, and the United Arab Emirates as well as government officials, close relatives, and close associates of various heads of government of more than forty other countries.

Among the documents are details about:

  • Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko
  • Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri
  • Iceland’s PM Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, who had an undeclared interest linked to his wife’s wealth. He has now resigned
  • Three of four children of Pakistan’s PM Nawaz Sharif
  • The late father of UK Prime Minister David Cameron
  • The brother-in-law of China’s President Xi Jinping

Panama Papers scandal also touches soccer’s world governing body, FIFA.

The leaked documents have been passed to German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, which then shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Mossack Fonseca says it has operated beyond reproach for 40 years and never been accused or charged with criminal wrong-doing.