A new investigation spearheaded by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, an organization launched by the Center for Public Integrity reveals the offshore links to some of the most powerful people on the planet. The disclosed papers are being called, the Panama Papers, by ICIJ.
In terms of size, the Panama Papers leak is likely the biggest leak of inside information in history – more than 11.5 million documents – and it is equally likely to be one of the most explosive in the nature of its revelations, says ICIJ.
It should be kept in mind, as this story unfolds, that CPI has been partly funded by George Soros.
The Media Research Center, a politically conservative content analysis organization, argued that the CPI funded by Soros, pressured the IRS to target conservative nonprofit organizations.
In 2003 the Wall Street Journal criticized the CPI for accepting large funds from George Soros…These concerns were echoed by the National Rifle Association and others in 2005 and by the Idaho Statesman in 2006….In 2011, Politico called into question CPI’s collaboration with advocacy organizations. Politico reported that CPI had coordinated the release of a report on Koch Industries with Greenpeace. Politico also reported that Pew Charitable Trusts, a funder of the Looting the Seas report, hosted a screening of a CPI documentary and then organized a call to action with other NGOs for the protection of bluefin tuna. In 2008, CPI published a report on tobacco that was both funded by and promoted by an advocacy group called Tobacco Free Kids.
Not surprising, ICIJ takes an early focus on Soros arch enemy Vladimir Putin, when reporting on the details in the 11 million plus documents.
Vladimir Putin and Sergey Roldugin forged a bond as young men. Fast friends, almost like brothers, they cruised the streets of Leningrad, singing and, in Putin’s case, occasionally getting into fistfights.
As Putin rose to power as Russia’s supreme leader and Roldugin made a name for himself as a classical cellist and conductor, the two remained close. Roldugin has performed for Putin and high-profile guests at the president’s official residence and has given media interviews that softened Putin’s fearsome image.
Now a leak of secret documents reveals another, hidden side of their friendship.
The records show Roldugin is a behind-the-scenes player in a clandestine network operated by Putin associates that has shuffled at least $2 billion through banks and offshore companies, an investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung and other media partners has found.
In the documents, Roldugin is listed as the owner of offshore companies that have obtained payments from other companies worth tens of millions of dollars. A company linked to the cellist also grabbed secret influence over Russia’s largest truck maker, another snagged a big slice of Russia’s TV advertising industry.
It’s possible Roldugin, who has publicly claimed not to be a businessman, is not the true beneficiary of these riches. Instead, the evidence in the files suggests Roldugin is acting as a front man for a network of Putin loyalists – and perhaps for Putin himself.
Also, ICIJ takes early notice of accounts surrounding FIFA officials. FIFA being an organization which the US government has a curious interest in. The US going so far as to indict some FIFA officials despite the fact that FIFA’s involvement with the US is extremely thin.
No doubt, there will be much more news from the treasure trove, ICIJ reports:
[The papers] also provide details of the hidden financial dealings of 128 other politicians and public officials around the world and show how a global industry of law firms and big banks sells financial secrecy to fraudsters and drug traffickers as well as billionaires, celebrities and sports stars.
The Panama Papers expose offshore companies controlled by the prime ministers of Iceland and Pakistan, the king of Saudi Arabia and the children of the president of Azerbaijan. They also include the names of at least 33 people and companies blacklisted by the U.S. government because of evidence that they’ve done business with Mexican drug lords, terrorist organizations like Hezbollah or rogue nations, including North Korea and Iran.
The leaked data covers nearly 40 years, from the late 1970s through the end of 2015. It allows a never-before-seen view inside the offshore world – providing 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 leaked records – which were reviewed by a team of more than 370 journalists from nearly 80 countries – come from a little-known but powerful law firm based in Panama, Mossack Fonseca, that has branches in London, Beijing, Miami, Zurich and more than 35 other places around the globe.
The firm is one of the world’s top creators of shell companies, corporate structures that can be used to hide ownership of assets. The law firm’s leaked internal files contain information on 214,000 offshore companies connected to people in 200 countries and territories.
The data include emails, financial spreadsheets, passports and corporate records revealing the secret owners of bank accounts and companies in 21 offshore jurisdictions, from Nevada to Hong Kong to the British Virgin Islands.
I’m sure, though, no George Soros-linked accounts will be discovered.
Note: It does not appear that there is a search engine so that the curious will be able to browse the documents. If this is the case, of course, we will only hear about what the gatekeepers want us to hear about.
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