Speed Reads

Panama Papers

6 Panama Papers revelations about world leaders' shady finances

With the recent leak of 11.5 million documents from the world's fourth-largest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca, some startling revelations about dark money in the global financial system have emerged. The leaked documents — dubbed the "Panama Papers" for the law firm's location — include shareholder registers, bank statements, passports, emails, and contracts, and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism says the documents detail how the wealthy use offshore banks and shell companies to hide their assets.

Here are some of the biggest revelations from one of the largest data leaks in history:

  • Among the 143 politicians found to be using offshore tax havens, 12 are current or former national leaders, or are their family members or associates. Leaders found to be linked to the documents include Pakistan's prime minister, Nawaz Sharif; Saudi Arabia's monarch, King Salman; Ukraine's president, Petro Poroshenko; Iceland's prime minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson; Syria's president, Bashar Assad; and China's president, Xi Jinping,
  • A network believed to be connected to Russian President Vladimir Putin has allegedly laundered more than $2 billion.
  • In the United Kingdom, six members of the House of Lords have been found to have had offshore assets.
  • Families of eight current and former members of China's supreme ruling party have been found to have offshore assets.
  • A top member of Fifa's ethics committee, charged with reforming world soccer's governing body, has been found to have "acted as a lawyer for individuals and companies recently charged with bribery and corruption," The Guardian reports.
  • At least 33 individuals or companies blacklisted by the U.S. government because of evidence of dealings with the drug and arms trade, terrorist organizations, and rogue nations including Iran and North Korea are listed in the leak.

The documents were analyzed by more than 370 reporters from 100 media organizations over the past year.