Millions of records pertaining to the dealings of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca have been leaked in what some are calling the biggest data breach in history.
The 11.5 million leaked documents name a number of high profile business moguls and political figures, alongside family members and associates, as making use of the firm’s services. The papers show how these figures, to differing degrees, have hidden away vast sums of wealth through the law firm.
Mossack Fonseca helps wealthy clients set up offshore shell companies in tax havens around the world. The cache of documents, which includes emails, bank records and clients’ personal information, appears to show how the firm has helped clients to dodge international sanctions and launder money.
More than 100 news outlets and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists sifted through the Panama Papers and found that 72 current or former heads of state were directly named as clients, including the newly elected Argentinian President Mauricio Macri, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister of Iceland Sigmundur Davio Gunnlaugsson.
A number of associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin are also included in the documents, although the political figure himself is not named. However, according to The Guardian, the associates created a “network of secret offshore deals and vast loans worth $2bn” in a trail that leads back to the president himself.
The Guardian noted that data from the documents “reveals a pattern” that allegedly shows how Putin’s “friends have earned millions from deals that seemingly could not have been secured without his patronage”.