Yesterday, the British Prime Minister David Cameroon was grilled by the British Parliament over allegations that he benefitted from the controversial Panama tax havens fraud now rocking the entire world.
Cameron whose late father Ian’s offshore fund named Blairmore Holdings was listed in the documents, admitted that he had owned shares in the trust but sold the shares for around 30,000 pounds in 2010 before he won the election and the profit he made was subject to ordinary U.K tax rules. At the end of the parliamentary session, it was agreed that there was need to reform the UK Tax laws against tax avoidance
Last week thousands of protesters marched on Downing Street calling for the resignation of the Prime Minister. The protesters drew inspiration from the protests in Iceland that led to the resignation of its Prime Minister earlier in the week.
In Chile, the Country’s Head of the anti-corruption watchdog, the Transparency International Mr. Gonzalo Delaveau resigned his position while Chile’s tax authority said it would begin investigations into Chileans mentioned in the Panama Papers. Micheal Grahammer, the chief executive of Hypo Landesbank Vorarlberg, an Austrian bank, mentioned in the massive fraud also resigned. Other countries around the world are equally up against their politicians on this matter.
On April 3, the Panama Papers hit media outlets around the world, and the fallout was swift. A prime minister lost his job, and other global leaders are under mounting pressure to account for their actions.
But the effects of the leaks are not evenly spread; the documents contained far more information about the offshore activities of individuals in the developing world than in the developed world. Whatever the reasons for the imbalance, it will likely limit the papers’ impact. In the developing world, long histories of corruption have dulled the public’s sensitivity to scandal, and repressive governments leave little room for popular backlash.
So although less information was released on Western leaders, it is already doing more damage. Iceland’s leader has left his post, and relatively minor revelations have had a disproportionately large impact in the United Kingdom and France.
Meanwhile, in the developing world, the Panama Papers’ effects have been most strongly felt in the former Soviet Union, a region in which political tensions were already high. The leaks’ results have been more mixed in China, where they have provided new targets for the anti-corruption drive already underway but have also implicated figures close to the administration’s upper ranks.
Nigeria is not left out as prominent figures both in government and private sectors were mentioned in the report including past and present senate presidents, David Mark and Bukola Saraki, oil magnet and retired Army General Theophilus Danjuma, richest man in Africa, Aliko Dangote and former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Funsho Kupolokun.
The Panama files, seen and reported by social media networks and other channels, show how a law firm Mossack Fonseca, reputed as one of the most secretive companies in the world, helped clients register offshore entities, some of which were used to launder money, evade tax and dodge sanctions.
The trove of 11.5 million files shows how a global industry of law firms and big banks sells financial secrecy to politicians, fraudsters and drug traffickers as well as billionaires, celebrities and sports stars numbering about 128.
The revelations were among the findings of a lengthy investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and more than 100 other global news organizations, which lasted a year.
The data trove is shot through with the names of celebrities, political officials and criminals alike. More than 214,000 offshore entities mentioned in the documents provide connections to people in more than 200 countries and territories, including current and former world leaders.
Investigations and political responses are already taking shape. And the fallout from the Panama Papers will be felt in different ways around the world.
Indeed, this is only the beginning. The Panama Papers are the largest information dump of their kind, and the information that has been released so far appears to be just the tip of the iceberg. They are also the latest in a string of public leaks that seem to be happening more and more frequently. As revelations continue to surface, calls for greater global transparency will only get louder. We identify with such calls any day, any time.


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