Mauricio Macri Implicated in Massive Offshore Tax Haven Scandal
Argentine President Mauricio Macri was among the leaders implicated in the offshore account scandal. | Photo: Reuters
Published 3 April 2016 (2 hours 34 minutes ago)
Leaked files analyzed by reporters from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists revealed how the rich use tax havens to hide their wealth.
Confidential files from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm, were leaked on Sunday revealing influential people, including heads of government such as Argentine President Mauricio Macri, that have exploited tax havens.
The leaked documents identifies that at least 12 heads-of-state were among 143 politicians, their families and close associates have been using offshore tax havens.
Macri is among the leaders implicated in the scandal. Macri was director and vice president of a Bahamas company (Fleg Trading) managed by Mossack Fonseca when he was a businessman and mayor of Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires.
In asset declarations in 2007 and 2008 when he was mayor of Buenos Aires, Macri did not disclose his connection to Fleg Trading.
However, a spokesperson for Macri said the president never personally owned shares in the firm, but his family does.
Report: 3 Out of 4 Fortune 500 Companies Avoid Paying Taxes
The files also uncovered offshore companies controlled by the prime ministers of Iceland and Pakistan, the king of Saudi Arabia and the children of the president of Azerbaijan.
The secret documents show that US$2 billion in transactions were secretly shuffled through banks and shadow companies by associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
They also provide the names of 33 people and companies enlisted by the U.S. government because of evidence that they’ve conducted business with Mexican drug lords and nations such as North Korea.
The Mossack Fonseca documents indicate that the firm’s customers have included Ponzi schemers, drug king pins, tax evaders and at least one jailed sex offender.
“These findings show how deeply ingrained harmful practices and criminality are in the offshore world,” Gabriel Zucman, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley told the ICIJ.
The Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists along with reporters from several international media outlets, published the highly-sensitive secrets, after the firm had been subject to an “unauthorized breach of its server.”
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There were 11.5 million documents and 2.6 terabytes of information drawn from Mossack Fonseca’s internal database. The trove of documents is likely the biggest leak of inside information in history, according to the ICIJ.
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