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Mar 20, 2018

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists | Panama Papers firm Mossack Fonseca closes; Paradise Papers reveals Illinois governor hopeful's offshore ties on March 20, 2018

Hello Fernando Guzmán Cavero!

Last week the firm at the heart of the Panama Papers investigation, a collaboration of more than 200 journalists across the world, announced it would close its offices. The shuttering of Mossack Fonseca comes almost two years after we first revealed the offshore ties of some of the world’s most powerful and corrupt people. (Interestingly, I spotted this announcement by another law firm, keen to pick up any work floating around in the wake of the announcement. ICIJ’s work is – definitely – not done yet!)
Our team was also really excited to see the Chicago Tribune publish this story about the latest gubernatorial race in Illinois. One of the Democrat candidates for the nomination, billionaire J.B. Pritzker, had previously told reporters his offshore connections were merely remnants of his grandfather's finances.
However, with the help of ICIJ – and our Paradise Papers data – Tribune reporters were able to expose the truth. Pritzker’s offshore ties were created long after the death of his grandfather. (We actually wrote about his sister, Penny, in our original reporting too.)

And while it might feel a bit like ‘on again, off again’ when it comes to the European Union’s tax haven blacklist, it did add three majors offshore hubs this week. Also in Europe: new laws forcing advisers, accountants and lawyers to be more transparent about their complex tax avoidance schemes were introduced in the wake of our investigations.

Until next week!

Amy Wilson-Chapman
The offshore law firm’s 11.5 million leaked files were at the heart of the Panama Papers investigation. In a statement, Mossack Fonseca said it would “continue to call for justice” and would cooperate with authorities to “demonstrated no crime has been committed.” All its offices will be closed by month-end.
“Every taxpayer in the United States now pays more in income tax because he paid less.” Democrat candidates for Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker was attacked by his democratic rival, Chris Kennedy, after his offshore connections were revealed. Paradise Papers data helped reveal the facts that shook the state’s primary Democratic contest.
The head of the OECD’s tax planning unit, John Peterson, praised the work of Panama Papers and Paradise Papers as new rules targeting the masterminds of tax avoidance were introduced. “These leaks make it obvious to everyone that tax avoidance … is a global problem,” he said.
The EU gave these three Caribbean jurisdictions, which were struck with hurricanes last year, extra time to meet its demands. But, in the end, it added the well known offshore hubs to its blacklist that now contains nine countries (after eight others were removed in January).

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