What is Pandora Papers and What is Panama Papers and Why they are so important?
Featured Image Credit: https://www.icij.org/
In 2016, we learned about the Panama Papers. It was the most comprehensive exposé of elites, politicians, and rich individuals who kept their wealth buried in tax havens. With the latest developments, the Pandora papers are the largest exposure of the same type of stolen data about hidden riches possessed by affluent individuals, governments, and elites.
Wealthy individuals, business owners, corrupted politicians, celebrities, sports stars, and the elite are saving their money through various types of investments in order to avoid risk. When we examine closely, we can see that they are seeking more than just risk management. There are several low-tax, high-privacy countries all around the world. When someone establishes a business in one of these tax havens, the wealth of that company is entitled to the tax regulations and privacy policies of that tax haven country. As a result, wealthy people may simply avoid paying taxes by forming a fictitious business or group of firms in tax paradise and hiding their money behind those fictitious company identities.
Corrupted politicians and certain members of society’s elite do have black money. If you are unable to declare the source of your money, it will be termed black money. That money might come from misappropriated taxpayer (government) funds, illicit enterprises, commissions and subsidies from private firms that engage with governments.
There are lots of employees, lawyers, brokers and middlemen involved in these deals. These people may eventually leak those data to journalists. Those journalists are not ordinary TV parrots. They are investigative journalists. They are very serious people who sacrifice their life to protect the public right to be informed. Generally, they are selfless people and work for society without expecting rewards. Once these data are received by investigative journalists, they are exposing these data as bulk to most independent media stations around the World.
This form of exposure is sometimes referred to as “Panama Papers,” “Pandora Papers,” or “any type of name and suffix: papers.”
Panama is a republic in Central America that also acts as a tax haven. This little low-income country is home to 25% of the world’s commissioned ships as relaxed paperwork over shipping, privacy and the low tax policy. The Panama Papers are the 11.5 million leaked encrypted private papers belonging to the Panama-based legal firm Mossack Fonseca. The documents, dubbed the “Panama Papers” by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ), were made public on April 3, 2016.
What is Pandora Papers
Pandora is the first lady in Greek mythology. According to legend, she had a jar (later a box) full of sadness and evil. It is also called Pandora. When we fast forward thousands of years to 2021, “Pandora Papers” is the greatest amount of leaked offshore data in history in terms of bulk.
Let’s see the 10 important facts of Pandora Papers.
01. It contains the names of 35 former and current Head of States
Panama papers contained wealthy people, successful companies and elites including politicians. But here in Pandora papers, we talk about 35 heads of state.
02. Data of 14 service providers are leaked by Pandora Papers
Panama papers contained just one law firm based in Panama called Mossack Fonseca and Pandora papers are linked with 14 different offshore service providers.
03. 14 service providers are from few different countries
Those data came from 14 offshore service providers operating in Anguilla, Belize, Singapore, Switzerland, Panama, Barbados, Cyprus, Dubai, the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, Seychelles and Vietnam.
04. Pandora has named 300 public officials, not only leaders.
In addition to 35 heads of state, the leaked material includes 300 public officials from various countries across the world.
05. Millions of papers in Pandora box
Banking records, incorporation paperwork, communications, and records demonstrating real ownership of shell firms are all included. The collection of 2.94 terabytes contains 6.4 million papers and 1.2 million emails written in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, Russian, and Greek.
06. 600 Journalists are called to help
Mining such a big scale of data is a huge task. Around 600 journalists have been granted access to these data to help analyse from reputed media like The Guadian, BBC, Washington Post and Le monde.
07. Pandora papers were released by ICIJ
The story was exposed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and they are extremely reputed organization and they did release the Panama papers too. They have approximately 280 reputable investigative journalists as members from over 100 countries. And it is a non-profit organization exclusively run by donations.
08. Shakira, Tendulkar, Putin and some famous elites in the list
According to Wikipedia, the names of famous musicians Shakira, cricket legend Tendulkar, and Russia’s great leader Putin are also on the list in Pandora papers.
09. Estimated value of US$ 32 Trillion may be hidden
According to press estimates, up to US$32 trillion (excluding non-monetary goods such as real estate, art, and jewellery) may be concealed from taxation.
10. Reasons are not clear some cases
Some Kings, royals and elites have almost earned lifelong assurance of fortune and the highest level of living that any man or woman can be achieved on Earth. So the reason for this type of practice isn’t clear to me.
In some cases, the elected heads of government in poor countries and politicians from poor countries may have their own reasons to save wealth for themselves and their families.
Bottom Note from Anu Bernard
Saving money and wealth offshore isn’t an illegal practice. It is 100% legit and ethical practice for low-risk investment for wealth. The use of shell corporations for the purpose of covering wealth should be held accountable, since it may constitute tax evasion. As long as there is no justifiable public interest, privacy for the elite and rich may be required. Public interest may be defined as something related to tax fraud, misuse of taxpayer money, money laundering and black money.
I referred following articles to prepare this 10 fact article
01. The Guardian
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04/Oct/2021 (Kandy, Sri Lanka)
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