Monday, 4 April 2016

Panama Papers leak

Members of the global elite are in spasms of panic, following the leak of millions of documents, from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Photo by Christian Taube / CC BY

Reports began to trickle in on social media, at about 10pm GMT about the leak. German publication Süddeutsche Zeitung has been credited with receiving the documents, which were eventually passed onto the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

It is estimated they acquired about 11.5m documents, dating back to the 1970s, which go into great detail about years worth of transactions by wealthy individuals, using about 214k offshore companies in the process, it is alleged.

It is a sensitive revelation for global elites, because some of those involved currently hold high office, in some cases reportedly.

The scale of the leak is unprecedented. It dwarfs the Wikileaks Cablegate leak of 2010, with emails, photos, PDFs and a range of other files all adding up to 2.6 Terabytes.

To put this into perspective, you would supposedly require 40 Blu-Ray disks, just to store 1TB worth of data.

VIPs linked to the Panama Papers

Of significance to UK readers, David Cameron's late father has been reportedly mentioned.

Much focus, however, has been given to transactions relating to the President of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, as well as documents reportedly pertaining to associates close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

RT (formerly Russia Today) predictably reacted to the news, by claiming the media were giving excessive coverage to the documents which implicated those close to President Putin.

This is yet another demonstration of the outlet's bias, given that RT omitted actually including details about said documents. The bulk of this article decided to focus on a series of tweets about the coverage instead of the leak itself.

There is also mention of documents, reportedly relating to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Ukrainian NGO/exclusively online news outlet Hromadkse.TV showed some enthusiasm in publishing information about his alleged involvement in the matter.

One of their English-language reporters, Ian Bateson tweeted the following, which serves as an effective contrast between the ways people chose to cover the story:

Source: @IanBateson (Twitter)

The offshore companies mentioned in the leaked documents will be fully published in early May, according to the ICIJ.

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