Panama Papers rock financial world, three Sri Lankan companies in list

Apr 05, 2016 (LBO) – A huge leak of documents has rocked the financial world revealing how some among the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth.

With data still being leaked, three Sri Lankan companies are on the list, according to an interactive map making the rounds on social media forwarded by wikileaks. Details of the companies are not yet available.

The files leaked from a Panamanian law firm called Mossack Fonseca contain 40 years of data and include information on more than 210,000 companies in 21 offshore jurisdictions, from Panama to Hong Kong.

The files show how Mossack Fonseca clients were able to launder money, dodge sanctions and avoid tax.

In one case, the company offered an American millionaire fake ownership records to hide money from the authorities in direct breach of international regulations that stop money laundering and tax evasion.

More than 60 relatives and associates of heads of state and other politicians are implicated.

For instance, the files reveal a suspected billion-dollar money laundering ring involving close associates of Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin.

Also mentioned are the brother-in-law of China’s President Xi Jinping; Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko; Argentina President Mauricio Macri; the late father of UK Prime Minister David Cameron and three of the four children of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

The documents show that Iceland’s Prime Minister, Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, had an undeclared interest linked to his wife’s wealth. He is now facing calls for his resignation.

The scandal also touches football’s world governing body, Fifa, the BBC reported.

Although there are legitimate ways of using tax havens, most of what has been going on is about hiding the true owners of money, the origin of the money and avoiding paying tax on the money.

The 11.5 million documents were obtained by the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

It is the biggest leak in history, dwarfing the size of those released by the Wikileaks organisation. The data has be released to several newspapers and the trove of information is still being analyzed by their journalists.

The interactive map by an Irish Times journalist shows companies in Mossack Fonseca database “connected” to a particular country by address. The data also shows clients, beneficiaries, and shareholders by country. Source: ICIJ