The whistleblowing organization has criticized the ICIJ's decision to not provide open access to the cache of documents. The ICIJ's director said the organization wants to show that 'journalism can be done responsibly.'
"A yearlong investigation reveals that Mossack Fonseca... has served as the registered agent for front companies tied to an array of notorious gangsters and thieves that... includes associates of Muammar Gaddafi and Robert Mugabe, as well as an Israeli billionaire who has plundered one of Africa's poorest countries, and a business oligarch named Lázaro Báez."
This was veteran investigative journalist Ken Silverstein writing about Mossack Fonseca, the shady law firm at the center of the Panama Papers scandal. His article, recounting what he'd learned tracing the company across three countries over the course of a year, was published on VICE in 2014—nearly 18 months before the Panama Papers came to light earlier this week.
It was explosive stuff. But when Silverstein's piece was released the reaction was nothing like we are seeing now. Iceland's prime minister wasn't forced to resign. There was no global uproar. And when I ask Silverstein about the Panama Papers, he says the story came as a surprise. "I heard a long time ago that the German newspaper [Süddeutsche Zeitung] had a lot of documents but I had no idea what the scope of their holdings were. I didn't know it was a leak of this size," he says.
... ... ...
Mossack Fonseca's role in fight over painting stolen by Nazis
Panama Papers highlight offshore law firm’s part in contested claim by heir of alleged former owner of Modigliani piece
David Cameron admits he profited from father’s offshore fund
How offshore firm helped billionaire change the art world for ever
I thought this was a tax evasion story. I guess I should make sure - but why is this a story if not?
The editor of the German newspaper that broke the Panama Papers story said on Monday he did not know exactly where his team's source got the information but defended his decision to publish on the basis of the public interest.
"We don't know if this source got access lawfully or unlawfully, we just don't know," Krach [co-editor-in-chief of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung] said, but he said the provenance of the information was less important than the credibility of the documents and the public interest.
"The decisive question is first of all: is the information that came to us from the source credible? That is the most important point. And the second point is: is it relevant so that we publish?"
He said the Sueddeutsche had cross-checked thousands of documents against information it had previously received. This quashed any doubt that the Panama Papers might not be genuine.
"To the question, 'Are these documents genuine?' Yes they are genuine," Krach said, adding that some of the information was not of public interest but much was. "And those are the cases about which we have partially reported."
Asked how he would react if it turned out the source had come across the data by hacking into Mossack Fonseca, Krach said this was a hypothetical question but pointed to the case of Edward Snowden, the former U.S. spy agency contractor who leaked top secret information.
"Nonetheless, I think it is completely indisputable that it was valid, correct and even necessary to publish this data," he said of the Snowden case.
If you mean me (I posted threads about both here on a2k) I don't think offshore companies are anyone's business unless there is some kind of impropriety to go along with it. .
The bombshell publication of the “Panama Papers,” leaked from a Panama law firm specializing in shell companies, has triggered both outrage and skepticism. In an April 3 article titled “Corporate Media Gatekeepers Protect Western 1% From Panama Leak,” UK blogger Craig Murray writes that the whistleblower no doubt had good intentions; but he made the mistake of leaking his 11.5 million documents to the corporate-controlled Western media, which released only those few documents incriminating opponents of Western financial interests. Murray writes:
Quote:Do not expect a genuine expose of western capitalism. The dirty secrets of western corporations will remain unpublished.
Expect hits at Russia, Iran and Syria and some tiny “balancing” western country like Iceland.
Iceland, of course, was the only country to refuse to bail out its banks, instead throwing its offending bankers in jail.
Pepe Escobar calls the released Panama Papers a “limited hangout.” The leak dovetails with the attempt of Transparency International to create a Global Public Beneficial Ownership Registry, which can collect ownership information from governments around the world; and with UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s global anti-corruption summit next month. According to The Economist, “The Panama papers give him just the platform he needs to persuade other governments, and his own, to turn their tough talk of recent years into action.”
The Daily Bell suspects a coordinated global effort linked to the push to go cashless. It’s all about knowing where the money is and who owns it, in order to tax it, regulate it, “sanction” it, or confiscate it:
Quote:Without privacy, authoritarianism flourishes because it is impossible to build and expand private networks that would act as a deterrent . . . . A worldwide transparency regime virtually guarantees abuses and corruption from those in power.
This is a reason why the “cashless society” idea is such a bad one. When no one is able to use cash, financial histories will be easily available via electronic bank records.
Michael Snyder of InvestmentWatchBlog.com also links the Panama Papers with the push to go cashless:
Quote:. . . [W]ith this Panama Paper leak and all its pre-conditioning against tax havens, people aren’t realizing yet that very soon, once Negative Interest Rates and Bail-Ins are being openly discussed and prepared for implementation, the whole tax haven or tax dodger discussion in the media will quickly switch from talking about corrupt billionaires and shell companies half way around the world, and instead will be talking about something much closer to home . . . .
In my strong opinion this whole thing is all part of the coming capital control war, which ties directly in with the coming transition to a biometric digital currency, the implementation of Negative Interest Rates, the rollout of large scale systemic bail-ins, and the demonization and eventual criminalization of physical assets that are outside of direct taxation control (which again would be done using the pre-conditioned guise of “tax havens”, with physical precious metals and physical cash being the main targets).
The Kremlin has issued an official apology to German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung for an incorrect comment made by Vladimir Putin during his annual Q&A session on Thursday, when he said the newspaper was owned by the US investment bank Goldman Sachs.
"Süddeutsche Zeitung is part of a media holding, which in turn is owned by the US financial corporation Goldman Sachs,” Putin said. “It’s a smoking gun. But the sponsors don’t even blush.”
"Who is behind all those provocations? We know that there are some employees of the US state institutions,” he added.
Germany's federal states on Friday called for increased measures against tax havens and for media outlets to allow prosecutors to examine the contents of a cache of 11.5 million documents leaked to the press known as the "Panama Papers."
Russia, US play blame game over Panama Papers
While President Vladimir Putin is singing praises about his friend, the world's richest cellist, we haven't heard the last note on the Panama Papers yet. As Fiona Clark reports, conspiracy theories still abound.
"If the data sets from the 'Panama Papers' are not made accessible, then we cannot draw any consequences," said Lower Saxony's Finance Minister Peter-Jürgen Schneider, reported Reuters news agency.
However, the Munich-based newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung's (SZ) investigative unit on Tuesday said it would not handover the cache nor would it publish the leak online, despite calls to do so by government officials and representatives of whistleblowing organization WikiLeaks.
"As journalists, we have to protect our source: we can't guarantee that there is no way for someone to find out who the source is with the data. That's why we can't make the data public," the team said during an "Ask Me Anything" session on Reddit, which included journalist Bastian Obermayer who was first contacted by the anonymous source.
"You don't harm the privacy of people, who are not in the public eye. Blacking out private data is a task that would require a lifetime of work - we have eleven million documents," the unit added.
In a letter to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) obtained by British newspaper The Guardian this week, US attorney for Manhattan Preet Bharara said the Justice Department "has opened a criminal investigation regarding matters to which the Panama Papers are relevant."
"The office would greatly appreciate an opportunity to speak as soon as possible with any ICIJ employee or representative involved in the Panama Papers project in order to discuss this matter further," Bharara said.