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The rich and the famous covered Panama

Богатых и знаменитых накрыло Панамой

The largest in the history of the “leak” of information exposing the financial machinations of the global elite, revealed another secret: the heads of state and government, their relatives and attendants, sports stars and big business EN masse sheltering money from taxation through non-transparent financial schemes and active assistance of banks, including German. Rich in their attempts to become even richer again appeared greedy, insatiable, ingenious. With all the loud unfolded around the “Panama” scandal, it is impossible not to wonder: what else we can learn about the world of those who rule the world, which is not expected before?

2.6 terabytes of data, 214 thousand addresses and names of firms, more than 11 million documents is “archive Panama” (Panama Papers), the largest in the history of the data fell into the hands of media in hitherto unprecedented scale, revealing the machinations of the powers that be in tax havens and offshore companies. The archive brings together information about tens of thousands of people, famous and not too, including a few thousand German nationals who used the services of a Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca for the registration of offshore companies in Panama and other Central American States. “Banking organized crime” – the Vice-Chancellor and economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel (Sigmar Gabriel) has responded to the news that a total of 28 financial and credit institutes in Germany are mentioned in the “Panama archives”. As it turned out, six of the seven largest banks in the country has provided clients with assistance in registration of offshore companies.

“We took it. It’s a crime,” no doubt, one of the founders of the law firm Mossack Fonseca, 68-year-old native of Germany Massac jürgen (Jürgen Mossack). Mossaka family moved to Panama shortly after the Second world war, a University degree, the lawyer has already received in this country. His father served with the Waffen SS, and after moving to Central America, offered himself to the CIA as a spy. The son chose another career, founded in the early 1980s, law firm together with Fonsecai ramón (Ramón Fonseca). Business partner Mossaka turned into public figure widely known in Panama, lawyer, consultant including President Juan Carlos Varela (Juan Carlos Varela), and the joint law firm Fonseca and Mossaka has become one of the world’s leading specialists in the creation of discrete schemes of evasion from payment of taxes. In this firm Mossack Fonseca – just the fourth in the world by number of registered offshore companies. Whose names will be featured in the new “Panama archives”, when the next informant will merge data from the first three or their computer systems will fall under the onslaught of hackers?

By itself, the registration of the company-mailbox, or, as it is usually called in the business world offshore, in one of the “tax havens” is not a violation of the law. In criminalized hits reticence about this company before fiscal authorities and hiding with it the income from which is required to pay taxes in the country of actual residence.

There is currently no information on whether in tax returns referred to in “Panama archive” German citizens owned companies registered in Panama or the British virgin Islands: fiscal authorities of Germany do not reveal such information. While the press has not leaked the names of any of the German defendants in the archive: most likely, this means that none of them were widely known names, the mention of which is shocking to the layman.

The rest of “the Panama archive” is full of big names. Among owners of offshore companies mentioned twelve current or former heads of state and government – including the President of Argentina Mauricio Macri (Mauricio Macri), the king of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan, the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, 61 close relative, friends or confidants of heads of state – in particular, the immediate environment of the President of Russia Vladimir Putin, a cousin of Syrian President Bashar Assad (Bashar al-Assad), the family of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, approximate renounced the throne of the king of Spain Juan Carlos the First (Juan Carlos I.), 128 high-ranking politicians and officials or their close relatives – including the Prime Minister of Iceland Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson (Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson), and at the same time Minister of Finance, Minister of internal Affairs, managing the Affairs of the ruling party and several prominent Icelandic bankers, the Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif, former Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili, the late father of British Prime Minister David Cameron (David Cameron), daughter of former Chinese Prime Minister, Li Peng, the son of the Prime Minister of Malaysia, the nephew of the President of South Africa, the Minister of oil industry of Angola, the Minister of economy of Algeria, the head of the state oil company of the Congo, the former head of the state oil company of Venezuela, who was fired in January, a top functionary of the International football Federation FIFA, Jerome Walke (Jérôme Valcke), and drawn from the football UEFA President Michel Platini (Michel Platini), five-time winner of the “Golden ball” Lionel Messi (Lionel Messi), hundreds of millionaires and billionaires 29 – defendants in the list of the richest people in the world, annually compiled by business publication Forbes.

“Panamanian archive” has become the largest in the history of the world investigative journalism. About a year led his four hundred media representatives from around 80 countries of the world, United under the auspices of the International consortium of journalistic investigations (ICIJ). From the German side it was attended by journalists of the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, as well as public-law TV channels WDR and NDR. ICIJ is a project of the “Center for social purity” (Center for Public Integrity, CPI), a nonprofit organization founded in 1989 in Washington – for the first time has loudly declared itself in April 2013, published the so-called “Offshore leaks” (Offshore-Leaks), the first vast array of information on known individuals – the owners of offshore companies admitted to public access.

It is known that the materials “of the Panama archive” anonymous informant conveyed in 2015 available to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Bavarian journalists shared them with members of the ICIJ, 3 April 109 Newspapers, television stations and online publications in 76 countries simultaneously presented the first results of the investigation. Thanks to him, previously unknown facts about business and financial transactions public figures, some of which are responsible to their constituents or subjects, became public. To give a legal assessment of their activities – the lot of the court. Punish them financially if that will be the task of the national fiscal authorities. But to appreciate the depth of moral fall of the most affluent segments of society and politicians who defend them – and at the same time their own interests, can we all. And even those involved in the “Panama archive” who fell into bad company by chance, have not done anything illegal and honestly paid taxes on all offshore income, can hardly expect ever to wash off the smell of him stuck to public condemnation. This pack of world of the nobility, possessed by greed, financial and political elites, the leaders applying for the global significance of the superpowers or third world countries, fleecing and deceiving your own people, can hardly hope for leniency.

“Panama” heat fever Iceland

Almost every tenth inhabitant of the Icelandic capital was released this week on the street demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson (Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson), rendered in the same list “Panamanian archive” that Bashar al-Assad (Bashar Assad) and the environment Putin. But, unlike the latter, Sigmundur not to hold onto his authority and resigned last Tuesday.
Who would have thought that the results of international investigative journalism, called “Panama archives”, more than any other touches of Icelandic society, which suddenly found himself in the midst not only of political crisis but also, apparently, to break the traditional party system. The oldest parliamentary democracy of the planet is experimentally proved that even a “perfect” society unable to resist the temptations of the global financial “chaos”.
At first glance, the accusations against the Prime Minister Sigmundur (traditionally Icelanders have no surnames and patronymic, which is Gunnlaugsson, to address not accepted) seem to be normal political “domestic crimes”. Prior political career together with his wife formed an investment company in the offshore zone, after being elected to Parliament he sold his share for one dollar. Participated in the adoption of laws that have a beneficial effect on the financial condition of the business of the wife.
Perhaps such an angry public reaction would have followed, if the country in 2009 never would have survived the financial crisis, which, as it seemed, formed a new political system. In particular, citizens using the Internet re-wrote the Constitution and came to power the “people’s” party. The current Prime Minister of Sigmundur was one of the leaders of the civil movement “In protection”, which aimed to protect Iceland from the global financial predators, to prevent leaching money out of the country, to strengthen the position of the national currency. Now it turns out that all this time he was playing a double game. More precisely, on the other side of the fence was his wife. Last year, his government achieved the abolition of tax for companies, pulled their money out of Iceland. According to “archives of Panama”, the company his wife was one of the beneficiaries of such a decision. When, during an interview with Swedish journalist Sigmundur a question was asked about “family” business, the Prime Minister just left the room, for which, it should be noted, later apologized.
Political career of the Prime Minister, obviously, is completed, however, this is unlikely to bring calm to the society. As noted by local observers, the problem is much deeper – in distrust of the entire political and, in particular, party system. If in 2009 it seemed that the country has created an entirely new system of government, it now appears that all remains the same. “Revolution from below”, which among other things has inspired movements such as Occupy Wall Street, paradoxically, led to the restoration of the old system.
At the moment, the Icelandic society is still in a state of shock, but observers agree on one thing – we should expect big changes, with the most unexpected. And if you share the view that Iceland significantly ahead of the rest of Western countries in social and political development, crowds outraged and disappointed in Reykjavik represent a picture of the near future of European capitals.

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