publicidad
The ICIJ revealed its Panama Papers investigation into offshore tax havens last month

Panama Papers Round Two: journalists release database

Panama Papers Round Two: journalists release database

Members of the public can now search the list of secret offshore companies and the people behind them, ICIJ says.

The ICIJ revealed its Panama Papers investigation into offshore tax have...
The ICIJ revealed its Panama Papers investigation into offshore tax havens last month

Tax cheats watch out.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) on Monday released an online database with information on more than 200,000 offshore entities that are part of the Panama Papers investigation, hoping to get more tips from the public and encourage more whistleblowers to come forward.

Search the database here

"There is overwhelming public interest in the Panama Papers ... we want to make it searchable for everyone," ICIJ director Gerard Ryle, told the annual OffshoreAlert Conference in Miami last week.

"We imagine billions of people will want to go there on Monday and probably tell us things that we missed. That's our hope. It's kind of like a crowd sourcing exercise for us."

The Panama Papers project is a year-long set of investigations by 370 journalists, led by ICIJ, a Washington-based non-profit, that was launched last month by 109 participating news media – including Univision Noticias – into illegal and unethical offshore financial activities.

The investigation has already forced the resignation of scores of public officials around the world and triggered raids in a dozen countries, including the offices of Mossack Fonseca in Panama City, the company at the center of the documents leak.

publicidad

The investigation showed how several allies of President Vladimir Putin moved millions of dollars from Russian state banks to banking havens, as well as exposing links to leaders in China and Brazilian politicians.

The Obama administration on Friday announced new financial regulations that would force companies to disclose more information about their owners, as part of a crackdown on tax evaders and money launderers.

Experts say the focus of the next round of the investigation will be less high profile names, potentially exposing widespread tax fraud among wealthy professionals in the United States.

"There's a whole bunch of orthopedic surgeons and ophthamologists and lawyers who have offshore accounts who are hiding assets," said Arthur Vandesande, a former Internal Revenue Service investigator and founder of Concorde Associates.

"My guess is there's a lot of Americans there and the IRS will be knocking on their door," he added.

La sede de Mossack Fonseca en el edificio Arango Orillac en Ciudad de Pa...
La sede de Mossack Fonseca en el edificio Arango Orillac en Ciudad de Panamá

Ryle and Vandesande noted that U.S. and other law enforcement agencies could begin seeking data from the Panama Papers after Panamanian authorities obtained a copy of the documents during a raid on Mossack Fonseca's headquarters in Panama City last month.

"It's available now if governments want to ask Panama for it," said Ryle.

"What almost assuredly going on right now is that all these clients who have accounts with Mossack Fonseca and have not yet been named in Round One of the Panama Papers, are meeting with defense counsel to decide how to disclose this and what is the least punishing way to do it," said Vandesande.

Mossack Fonseca clients who face exposure in this new round of the leaked documents could opt for an IRS voluntary disclosure program to forestall criminal indictments, he said.

publicidad

"I'm sure there are a lot of happy lawyers earning fees," he added.

The original documents include almost every email and client of Mossack Fonseca over the last 40 years, totally some five millions emails and 2 million pdf files.

The database will likely be the largest ever release of secret offshore companies and the people behind them, ICIJ says.

The ICIJ insists it will not be a “data dump” of the original documents, and instead will be a careful release of basic corporate information. It will not include the actual documents that might reveal personal bank account records, passports, emails or telephone numbers, but rather the names of shell companies and beneficial owners that can be gleaned from the files.

The database will be interactive, allowing users to search for information about companies, trusts, foundations and funds incorporated in 21 tax havens, from Hong Kong to Nevada in the United States.

The database will be published at https://offshoreleaks.icij.org on May 9 at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 UTC).

Last week the ICIJ informant behind the leak released a statement, saying their motivation was to expose criminal activity that was contributing to inequality around the world as more and more wealthy people use offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes.

Ryle summed it up this way. "If someone isn't paying taxes, you are paying more."

Global project

The Panama Papers investigation began more than a year ago when two reporters at the Süddeutsche Zeitung, based in Munich, received millions of confidential documents from the archives of Mossack Fonseca, a powerful but until then little-known law firm founded in Panama in the 1970s. It currently has branches in Hong Kong, Miami, Zurich and 35 other cities around the world.

publicidad

The law firm is one of the leading creators of companies which can be used to hide the identities of the true owners of real estate properties and other types of wealth.

In a letter sent by Mossack Fonseca Thursday, the law firm asked the ICIJ to halt the release of the database because the leak of documents amounted to “a theft of information and a violation of the client-lawyer confidentiality agreement, which we are required to protect.”

Related:

The anonymous informant who leaked the Panama Papers reveals motives

Panama Papers: Major U.S. security contractor went offshore too

Where are all the Americans in the Panama Papers?Experts discuss why there are so few Americans listed in the Panama Papers

Panama Papers: An inside look at how the largest document leak in history was investigated

Couple close to Hugo Chávez ended up with companies in tax havens and Swiss bank accounts

#PanamaPapers: Spies and Shadowy Allies Lurk in Secret With Help From Offshore Firm

publicidad
publicidad
Belén Sisa, a DACA beneficiary of Argentine origin, uploaded a photo to the social network in which she showed herself with a tax form. The young woman received threats from Trump supporters, but says she won't stay silent.
Guadalupe Contreras began looking for his son Antonio in 2012. He has not yet found him. But he has helped unearth hundreds of bodies.
A sketch that was provided anonymously to relatives guided them to an unmarked area in Veracruz where the skulls were found.
Tracey Tong, who is Peruvian and Chinese, tried to reason with a Puerto Rican woman who was verbally assaulting two people on the E train.
Jose Castillo's fear since Donald Trump became president turned into terror. The man who lived in the U.S. for more than 15 years fled his home country after gangs threatened to kill him. A few months ago, he stopped driving and sought shelter at a church in New York. From there, he asked the Canadian government for asylum.
The proposed U.S. policy was outlined in an enforcement memo sent out by secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly on February 20, but it was put into question two days later during a trip to Guatemala.
"The president is calling all immigrants criminals," says Díaz Chacón and adds "I am the proof that we are not criminals." In 2011 and being undocumented, Díaz Chacón, rescued a girl in New Mexico. His story went viral. Today he is a permanent resident and reflects on the latest changes in immigration policy.
Gina Potes and Patricia Espitia were attacked with acid in Colombia, a country with one of the highest number of attacks of this kind. They have created a sisterhood, which they have used to help other victims and raise awareness about these brutal attacks.
Figures show the US has admitted just over 18,000 Syrian refugees since the war broke out in the Middle Eastern country. It's estimated that 4 million Syrian children have only known war time.
A climate of fear around Trump's immigration policies has lead many parents in Immokalee, Florida, to prepare for the worst: deportation. Many are making plans for their children, in the case that they're left alone in the United States, such as coordinating a legal guardian. Others are processing passports for their children, so that the entire family can leave the country in the event of a deportation.
As the legend goes, a UFO landed in Capilla del Monte in 1986, leaving a mark on the side of the Pajarillo mountains. Since then, this Argentinian village has lived off UFO tourism. It's currently hosting its annual Alien Festival.
The young White House adviser who is one of the president's preferred spokesmen once ran for election at his California high school. His stump speech was found racially offensive by many students as you can see in this video obtained exclusively by Univision. He was escorted off the stage by high school staff.
Twelve percent of annual U.S. demand for avocados — or about 100,000 tons — will be consumed in the days before and after the Super Bowl. Mexican producers say that Trump's threats would only mean higher prices for U.S. consumers.
A day after Trump's inauguration, the U.S. capital was filled by hundreds of thousands of protesters who stole some of the limelight from the newly sworn-in president.
Obama’s inaugural poet, Richard Blanco, reflects on last week’s dramatic shift in U.S. policy towards Cuban immigrants, as well as Donald Trump and democracy.
The announcement to scrap the benefits came as a bucket of cold water for the Cuban migrants who just arrived in the United States. As this group waits for their papers, the uncertainty grows on whether they will ever be reunited with the relatives they left on the island.
Diosdado Cabello usó palabras ofensivas contra la OEA por la Carta Democrática
El vicepresidente del Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV) arremetió contra la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA), que llevó a cabo una reunión este martes con 34 estados miembros para analizar la situación del país suramericano.
Evo Morales viajará de urgencia a Cuba para ser operado de un tumor benigno en la laringe
El presidente de Bolivia padece de una enfermedad en la garganta que empeora. La cirugía estaba programada para abril.
Un hombre avisó a la policía que su hija planeaba un tiroteo en la secundaria Catoctin en Maryland
La policía indicó que la joven de 18 años de edad, a quien le encontraron armas, fuegos artificiales y puntillas para fabricar bombas, planeaba morir en el ataque.
publicidad
Gobierno
Donald Trump habla de Chicago en reunión con ocho representantes de la Orden Fraternal de la Policía
La violencia con armas de fuego y los ataques a la policía fueron algunos temas discutidos. No hay excusas y supongo que todos se preguntan qué pasa en Chicago, dijo el presidente durante el encuentro.
Dos trabajadores se electrocutaron cuando cortaban unas ramas en Addison, condado de DuPage
Informes de la policía indican que los hombres hicieron contacto con un tendido eléctrico en el patio trasero de una residencia, ubicada entre dos avenidas, en la mañana de este martes.
Autoridades buscan a dos hermanos acusados de asesinato
Dos hermanos enfrentan cargos criminales en conexión con un tiroteo que cobró la vida de dos personas y lesionó a cuatro más. Autoridades identificaron a Jeremy Jones, de 28 años, quien enfrenta cargos múltiples de asesinato; y a Harvey Jones, de 34 años, quien enfrenta cargos de asalto con agravantes. Ambos continúan prófugos.
Padres de familia piden al Distrito Escolar de Los Ángeles cerrar las escuelas para que estudiantes puedan protestar
Decenas de personas protestaron a las afueras de las oficinas del distrito escolar y exigieron que el próximo 1 de mayo los alumnos no tengan que ir a clase para que puedan apoyar el Día Internacional de los Trabajadores.
Al Mundial sin sufrir: El Tri venció 1-0 a Trinidad y Tobago y ve de cerca a Rusia 2018
Un solitario gol de Diego Reyes deja a México con paso perfecto en el Hexagonal; junio puede ser el mes que certifique la calificación al Mundial.
Capítulo 3: los hijos de la guerra; el talento repartido de la ex Yugoslavia
Una hipotética selección yugoslava en la actualidad le plantaría cara a las mejores selecciones del mundo
CONMEBOL Mundial Eliminatorias
El Perú sacó el poder del ‘Tigre’ y dejó tirado 2-1 en la lona a Uruguay
En partido dramático hasta el último segundo, la escuadra de Ricardo Gareca vino de atrás y propinó a ‘La Celeste’ su tercer descalabro consecutivo.
CONMEBOL Mundial Eliminatorias
Neymar abusó de una defensa paraguaya ‘Made in Mexico’ para el 3-0 de Brasil
Pese a haber fallado un penal, el crack brasileño tomó la batuta en una victoria que pone al Scratch líder con 33 unidades.