The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) just revealed a big amount of data, including lists of people who hid money in Panama, a fiscal and tax haven.
Firstly, it is a great work of investigative journalism and it’s not the first time that the ICIJ is doing that.
Having said that, I am wondering who is really surprised by this list. We should still assess who is on the list exactly, who did it legally and who didn’t.
We should remember that offshore accounts not always illegal. For example, companies or trusts can be set up offshore for legitimate uses such as business finance, mergers and acquisitions and estate or tax planning, the Associated Press news agency reported.
Raise your hand if you thought that the multi billionaires were not trying to avoid extreme taxation in their own country? When you saw some boats in the South of France, Sardinia or Croatia with a flag of Panama, the Virgin Islands or other Caribbean countries, did you think about all the Panamanian residents you had in front of you?
Another question is where are the Americans? Are American taxpayers more honest than the ones from other countries? Or do rich Americans simply have better ways of dodging taxes? AFP asks.
- Americans can form shell companies right in Wyoming, Delaware or Nevada. They have no need to go to Panama to form a shell company to use for illicit activities.
- When wealthy Americans do want to evade taxes, they turn to Bermuda, or the Cayman Islands, or Singapore. They don’t park their money in Panama.
These are some answers from experts. So, why only the Panamanian law firm was targeted?
What is more, despite high-profile on the list, the majority of the international media decided to accuse Putin of corruption. And even if the article itself was not about Putin, the cover picture suggested otherwise, Russia Today comments. To be noted that ICIJ is supported by Open Society of George Soros who described Putin as a bigger threat to Europe’s existence than Isis.
After this scoop, it would be also interesting to know where are the offshore accounts used to finance ISIS and other terrorist organizations. Indeed, knowing where some heads of state have hidden money could be politically interesting but knowing who is financing ISIS and how would also help us fighting them.