How do you hide billions of dollars from the world when you’re one of the most famous people on Earth? According to a massive new leak that’s being called the largest of its kind in history, it’s not so hard these days.
The reveal concerns Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonesca, the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm, which specializes in managing money in offshore jurisdictions like the British Virgin Islands. The leak, given to Süddeutsche Zeitung by an anonymous whistleblower, was handled collaboratively by 400 journalists from more than 100 media organizations, over 80 countries. From Süddeutsche Zeitung:
Among others, Mossack Fonsecas’ clients include criminals and members of various Mafia groups. The documents also expose bribery scandals and corrupt heads of state and government. The alleged offshore companies of twelve current and former heads of state make up one of the most spectacular parts of the leak, as do the links to other leaders, and to their families, closest advisors, and friends. The Panamanian law firm also counts almost 200 other politicians from around the globe among its clients, including a number of ministers.
The Guardian notes that some of the biggest players connected to these offshore accounts include Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif,Ayad Allawi, ex-interim prime minister and former vice-president of Iraq; Ukranian president Petro Poroshenko; Alaa Mubarak, son of Egypt’s former president; and Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson.
Most notably, Russian president Vladimir Putin has been connected to accounts totaling $2 billion, taken out in the name of his closest friend and associate, musician Sergei Roldugin. His trail of money from the accounts was even used on loan to a private ski resort where his younger daughter, Katerina, was married in 2013.