Back in 2016, a tax haven took place by a Panamanian law firm and corporate service provider called Mossack Fonseca. Panama Paper leak included some of the secret financial and attorney-client information numbering to 11.5 million. The documents dated back to the 1970s leaked the truth of 214,488 shell companies used for illegal purposes from frauds to tax evasions. In this corporate governance failure, a John Doe acted as the whistleblower, leaking documents to the German newspaper called Suddeutsche Zeitung while remaining anonymous. The reason for him acting as the whistleblower was income inequality.
After a discussion with Nikos Passas, a Criminal Justice professor at Northeastern University, an expert in the study of corruption and illicit financial flows, the following things were brought into consideration.
- The motive behind such leaks is embarrassing the exposed people, showing them opportunistic but not criminal. The professor answered that one cannot answer without the data that is still in the possession of the reporters. Panama Paper leak has shown how a large number of individuals and organizations have been committing such unethical acts and illicit practices for a very long period of time. Past works have shown that these acts encompass much more than we really assume. He concluded, “I hope that these papers from Panama can add substantially to our understanding of this and the methods employed over time.”
- The professor was asked if it is possible that the rules governing offshore tax havens may change as a result of the Panama paper leak. He answered the problem in such cases is not a tax haven but its secrecy. There is a huge market for secrecy. Scandals of this level provide the opportunity for reforms but these resistances will weaken and proper analysis of cost and benefits could be made which will again lead to a debate on how to go about it.
- He was asked about the recent stepping down of Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunlaugsson amid the scandal and the next lined up officials. He simply replied saying that without having access to the data, answering would be speculative. However, he said various officials from numerous countries will be affected directly or indirectly amid the scandal.