The Panama report has been described at the biggest data leaks in history, surpassing the US diplomatic cables released by wikileaks and NSA records by Whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
The 11.5 million documents released by Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca implicates world leaders and their associates.
It reveals the underhand dealings of 12 current and former world leaders and 128 more politicians and public officials around the world.
Mossack’s files (about 2.6 terabytes of data) include the offshore holdings of drug dealers, Mafia members, corrupt politicians and tax evaders.
What has been leaked?
The leaked report include financial records, correspondent dating 40 years back, passports, and 214,000 offshore entities across more than 200 countries.
Who is implicated?
The report implicates 140 offshore companies with ties to current and former world leaders including Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, former Prime Minister of Iraq Ayad Allawi and Saudi Arabian monarch King Salman named in the list.
Family members and associates of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, President of South Africa Jacob Zuma, Syrian President Bashar Assad and Chinese President Xi Jinping have also been implicated.
John Addo Kufuor, eldest son of Ghana’s former president,John Agyekum Kufuor, has been mentioned in the leaked documents.
In early 2001, shortly after the start of his father’s first presidential term, Kufuor appointed Mossack Fonseca to manage The Excel 2000 Trust. Later that year, it controlled a bank account in Panama worth $75,000. His mother – Theresa Kufuor, then-Ghana’s first lady – was also a beneficiary.
Son of former UN general secretary, Kofi Annan was also mentioned in the report.
According to the report, Swiss company Cotecna hired Kojo Annan in 1995 for work in Nigeria. By early 1998, he had quit to become a consultant to Cotecna. Months later, the United Nations awarded the firm a contract as part of Oil-for-Food humanitarian program in Iraq, prompting allegations of impropriety.
Transfer of wealth
Mossack acted as agents to register over 200,000 companies in tax havens, with the most popular destination being the British Virgin Islands.
British Virgin Islands held 100,000 companies, the report revealed.
It was difficult establishing real owners of the companies but the report notes that the real owners had hidden behind nominees who lend their signatures.
The law firm
Mossack Fonseca is a Panama-based law firm but also with presence in several countries with tax haven such as British Virgin Islands, Switzerland and Seychelles.
According to its websites, it focuses on helping companies and individuals set up offshore, tax exempt entities.