A massive leak of confidential documents from a Panamanian law firm shines a light on how elites across the world use offshore shell companies in order to hide their assets, in some cases facilitating corruption and money laundering.
Investigative journalists from fifteen countries in Latin America and the Caribbean — as well as Puerto Rico — helped the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) examine documents they are calling the Panama Papers.
The documents leaked from Mossack Fonseca, a company that helps clients set up shell companies in tax havens like Panama and the British Virgin Islands, in order to hold their wealth under someone else’s identity.
Keeping assets in a shell company is not illegal, but it has become a way for those who’ve made money illegally — such as through corruption schemes or drug trafficking — to keep their funds secret.
Below are some of the most prominent figures…
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