Vox Populi: A Public Sphere for Politics and Poetry
Behind the email chains, invoices and documents that make up the Panama Papers are often unseen victims of wrongdoing enabled by the shadowy offshore industry. This short video, underwritten by The Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, gives an overview of how rich individuals managed to avoid being held responsible for funding wars, evading taxes, committing bribery, and financing large-scale criminal enterprises.
The Panama Papers are a leaked set of over 11 million confidential documents that provide detailed information about more than 214,000 offshore companies listed by the Panamanian corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca, including the identities of shareholders and directors of the companies. The documents show how wealthy individuals, including public officials, hide their money from public scrutiny. For example, the documents reveal that the leaders of over 40 countries have set up shell companies to hide their illegal business dealings.
The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung originally received the leaked documents in 2015, but given the size of the project, the newspaper enlisted the help of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), based in Washington, D.C, which distributed documents for investigation and analysis to some 400 journalists at 107 media organizations in 76 countries. The first news reports based on the papers, and 149 of the documents themselves, were published on April 3, 2016. The ICIJ promises to publish a full list of companies involved in early May 2016.
For more information, go to the ICIJ website.
Photo credit: Rodrigo Arangua