Panama Papers: The Entire Global Operation in 5 Steps

Panama Papers

Investigative reporters exposed the Mossack Fonseca Panama Papers, and the exposé have made fortress walls of offshore secrecy to finally crack.

These havens allow corruption and tax avoidance to take place on a humongous global scale. With the involvement of the richest and most powerful people on Earth, the poor get poorer.

The Background

According to The Conversation, western politicians have “huffed and puffed about clamping down on offshore havens.” However, they would have failed to topple over the straw house let alone armours of vested interest.

The entire credit goes to investigative reporters, whistleblowers and the unpredictable global media collaboration.

Panama Papers exposé was the third biggest leak, Cayman Islands tax leak in 2013 being the first. It had exposed a huge number of major figures globally. They were all holding accounts, in the small British-dependent island, in secrecy.

The Investigator

Investigative reporter Gerald Ryle was at the centre of the multinational network of journalists who were taking on the Panama Papers scam.

While working at The Sydney Morning Herald, Ryle had received a message from a source about a package containing a hard drive. The source also told Ryle that it contained the biggest story of his life.

It was a huge cache of details of secret e-mails, documents and files from the offshore world.

“I know it is a potential goldmine but I don’t actually know what I’m looking at, I’m not sure how valuable it is,” Ryle said.

Ryle met with the instruments to deal with this issue when he became the head of theInternational Consortium of Investigative journalists (ICIJ) in Washington DC.

The Team

The Panama Papers investigation has a network of like-minded journalists in a range of countries. The network has been created over a series of multinational collaborations.

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Organisations like The Guardian and BBC TV’s Panorama programme were involved, and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) which is at the heart of this operation.

The material is leaked to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung from the database of Mossack Fonseca. It is the world’s fourth-biggest offshore law firm.


The glorious HSBC leak revealed that the company’s Swiss private bank had helped wealthy account holders from other nations to resist huge sums of unpaid tax.

Secret bank accounts were maintained for criminals, traffickers, tax dodgers, politicians and celebrities, says ABC News. The private banking arm had been involved with clients who were engaged in illegal activities.

Panama Papers

With more than 350,000 secretive International Business Companies (IBCs), Panama stands at 13th position on the 2015 Financial Secrecy Index.

It is the third-largest number in the world after Hong Kong and the British Virgin Islands. Panama also has tax-avoiding foundations and trusts, insurance, and boat and shipping registration.

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