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Five months after the Panama Papers leak of offshore client files, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and its global network of reporters have released a new expose on the Bahamas.
The latest cache of secret files is far smaller and less extensive than those that came from the Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca, which included searchable databases including details of anonymous company owners and their operations, including tax evasion and other criminal activity.
The documents involve 1.3 million files from the Bahamas corporate registry naming more than 175,000 Bahamain companies, trusts and foundations registered between 1990 and 2016. Government figures named in the documents include Carlos Caballero Argáez, a former Colombian minister of mines and energy and Neelie Kroes, a former senior EU official.
As was the case with the Panama Papers, the data fell into the hands of journalists at the German newspaper Süddeutche Zeitung, who sought the help of the ICIJ network of reporters.
The Bahamas documents will be added to the Offshore Leaks database managed by the ICIJ, and will now form part of the first-ever free, online and publicly-searchable registry of offshore companies set up in the Bahamas.
The Bahamas files involves a more basic archive of company names, the date of formation, the postal address in the Bahamas and in some cases, the directors of the company.
New leaked documents included the names of 539 registered agents, corporate intermediaries acting between Bahamian authorities and customers who want to create offshore companies. Among them is Panama's Mossack Fonseca. The firm established 15,915 entities in the Bahamas, making the island chain the company's third busiest jurisdiction.