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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
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.
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.
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.
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).