Speed Reads

the panama papers

Millions of leaked documents show how the rich hide money offshore

More than 370 reporters from 100 media organizations have spent the last year analyzing 11.5 million documents leaked from Mossack Fonseca, the fourth biggest offshore law firm in the world.

The Panama Papers include shareholder registers, bank statements, passports, emails, and contracts, and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism says the documents detail how the wealthy — including world leaders, celebrities, criminals, and business titans — use offshore banks and shell companies to hide their assets. At least 143 politicians have ties to the law firm and have been using offshore tax havens, The Guardian reports, including Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan's prime minister; Petro Poroshenko, the Ukrainian president; and Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, the prime minister of Iceland. The documents also show Russian President Vladimir Putin linked to a $2 billion offshore money trail, The Guardian says.

An anonymous source gave the documents to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, and the ICIJ says the data gives a "day-to-day, decade-by-decade look at how dark money flows through the global financial system, breeding crime and stripping national treasuries of tax revenues." The Panama-based Mossack Fonseca denies any wrongdoing. More data will be released soon, The Guardian says. Catherine Garcia