Panama Papers | The Guardian

This is the largest leak of confidential documents in history. One law firm sets up anonymous shell companies in tax havens around the world to hide billions for kleptocrats like Vladimir Putin, top officials in Fifa, eight members of China’s Politburo, and the Prime Minister of Iceland — who is now facing a snap election as a result of the revelations. And this is just one law firm. And most of this obscene public theft is legal.

“Economists are charting an unrelenting, escalating transfer of wealth, enabled by the offshore system, often from the very poorest to the very richest nations.

“The money is sometimes spent in obvious ways – funding super-yachts, private jets, fine art auctions and, of course, property. But there is the unseen damage. It harms the ecology of vibrant cities by making them unaffordable to ordinary people.

“The cash is also a shot in the arm to the financial system. Lawfully injected into London hedge funds and Wall Street trading rooms, it funds high-stakes investments and, in the good years, big bonus pools.

“The movement of this offshore money is an industry made possible in part by the secrecy on sale in tax havens, led by the UK’s substantial network of offshore enclaves. The Panama Papers lift the veil on how this world works – and the people who use it.”

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