The Panama Papers: Secrets of the Super Rich

The Panama Papers: Secrets of the Super Rich

2016, Crime  -   20 Comments
Ratings: 7.07/10 from 85 users.

The international news media have been preoccupied by a new financial scandal as of late. Their stories focus around the Panama Papers, a set of leaked documents which reveal the identities of over 200,000 companies, trusts, foundations, criminals, world leaders, and other figures of wealth and influence who keep great sums of their money hidden in offshore accounts. Calling upon the talents of highly skilled investigative journalists across the world, the new documentary The Panama Papers: Secrets of the Super Rich probes the contents of these documents in an effort to unravel a complex tapestry of suspicious financial activity.

These 11 million documents all originate from a single source: Mossack Fonseca, or MossFon for short, a Panamanian-based corporate law firm that provides convenient tax havens for the wealthiest entities across the globe. While some of their clients operate within the boundaries of the law and utilize the company's services for legitimate purposes, many others do not. Offenders include Rami Makhlouf, the richest man in Syria and a chief financial backer of the oppressive Assad regime, and Marlorry Chacon Rossell, a high-profile Guatemalan cocaine trafficker. Mobsters, money launderers, arms dealers, terrorist enablers and other wealthy criminals work with MossFon to set up dummy companies as a shelter from public scrutiny, allowing them to continue their operations without the fear of leaving a traceable money trail.

The realm of politics also plays a key role in the scandal. World leaders are counted among MossFon's most notable clientele, including the Prime Ministers of Iceland and Saudi Arabia. Others have relatives with close ties to the firm such as the father of British Prime Minster David Cameron. Inconveniently, Cameron is one of the leading figures in the fight against these questionable financial operations.

To what extent is MossFon aware of their client's criminal activities and motives, and at what point is the firm itself veering into illegality? That's one of the central points of contention explored in the documentary, and it's a dilemma that has few easy or concrete answers. Produced by ABC Australia, The Panama Papers: Secrets of the Super Rich mounts an ambitious investigation of awesome scope, and successfully scratches the surface of an intriguing scandal which will continue to develop for some time to come.

More great documentaries

20 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Delta Echo

    Absolutely misleading in terms of picking on one firm. All financial institutions have been doing this for decades! I bet the so called lazy journalists who illegally obtained the papers don't even know how BVI came to be a financial offshore centre in the first place. All the files were illegally obtained and the owners of MF should have sued all the journalists involved. These aren't even proper journalists - it isn't hard to collate and 'enhance' stories when you have names and dates already. Politicians have been corrupt since the year 0 and this will never change. The wealthy become wealthier and will always be protected whilst they live in the shadow of the ultra rich and under the protection of the big banks. The so called journalists involved should hang their head in shame for destroying a once vibrant law firm - they'd find much worse in the vaults of the major banks and bigger law firms globally. Another reason to never trust a journalist again! Weak reporting, weak story made out of something that is nothing in terms of global economies.

  2. Lovejoy

    Each of these documentaries tracks down a select few in open societies; not all of the people named can be safely tracked down. That's why we don't see particular individuals, like Putin, tracked down successfully. What is known is that several in Putin's circle of trust are named in the papers, indirectly linking him, which begs the question if there is no evidence that he opened a shell company with Mossack Fonseco, but his associates did, has he opened any with another firm? Birds of a feather flock together, no? We know that Trump's name is not specifically mentioned as a corporate owner (client) in the papers, but several suspicious shell companies from South America have purchased his real estate through Mossack Foncesco. That is in the papers. Only if an investigation into multiple shell company law firms' data could be completed, linking Mossack Fonseca with other shell companies' clients, could anyone expose the depth and breadth of the shell company game, and all of whom are doing business this way. Some of these shell companies are several layers deep - LLCs own LLCs who own legitimate businesses in Delaware, etc., and there are many law firms abroad which establish these offshore companies. Unless someone is willing to pay an investigator to dig - because this will take a lot of time and resources - we won't know how big and deep this goes. Someone could, however, take all of the individual documentaries and start connecting the dots...

  3. D.N. Almanza

    ,,,,I am also " shocked" with such behavior of known hypocrite liar politicians who would move Heaven and Earth for personal material gain of a few.

  4. Zoran

    Why is Putin's pics there, his name is not in Panama papers, but many British , Swiss and EU is, why we don't see their picture ?

  5. Steven

    Capitalism doesn't exist. Instead call it
    The free Mark ism exists

  6. Geraldo Lobo

    Now, what about Brazilian hide outs? Are there problems showing Brazilian mother ******* who steel from our people? We know many of them being nasty politicians who have no mothers left to pity them. These are, mainly, the ones who have been selling out Brazil to weird wild world capitalists, much at the style of what you depict in this film. Brazilian people MUST know who are these secretive people and companyes. Billigton co, for instance, managed a total destruction of 'Rio Doce' River, and now are under serious enquiry over their other nasty or irregular operations throughout the country. Help!

  7. Stanley

    Putin's picture in on the cover of this documentary, yet he has nothing to do with these Panama papers. This is evidence that this film is nothing more than Western propaganda. Not to mention, no American companies or businessmen have been exposed, despite them obviously being the biggest offenders of tax dodging.

  8. Tony

    Trash Doco. Panama Papers were not a leak like Wiki Leaks. It was a illegal hack handed to 300 "journalist" if you could even call them that. Instead of real objective journalism, these 300 are going to selectively release the information, unlike Wiki Leaks. The information that will be released will target the United States enemies (Putin). Unfortunately, these papers don't say Putin's name anywhere. Pure propaganda with CIA written all over it.

  9. Mena Reno

    Journalists who interview journalists, retired investigators and Senator Sarah Hanson-Young? Enough said. The Australian ABC is a second-rate propaganda tool, forever using the Australian people to test the latest round of incoherent moral outrage at entrepreneurs. At least RT Online knows what it is.

    Can anyone prove Wall St bankers didn't 'leak' these documents, seeing that the method has now been tested by others and found to be very effective as market manipulating tools? The cuckoldry method to make financial gains using the moral outrage of midwits is centuries old. Rothschild old.

    Also, is it just me, or is every preening camera noddy trying to look like Hillary?

  10. Keith Sauerwald

    Well now, you commenters, (most of you, anyway), seem to have a big mouth and a tiny brain. Four of these comments contain pathetic spelling or construction errors. I find it rather intriguing that the writers with big mouths and little brains can use their fingers to convey messages that are appallingly written and badly spelt and scripted. If you want to express your thoughts on this (or ANY subject), then for goodness sake, show us that you have control of the English language. Please don't show us that you are illiterate or semi illiterate.......we don't need to have to decipher and decode your pathetic writings.

    1. William Farley

      Your arrogance is showing dude. Part of having a big brain AND a big mouth.

  11. Bart

    Yes my thought, instant Documentary!

  12. Lila

    The system is triggerd to favour the very rich and such everyone else dry!

  13. Jason

    oQ if you do see a documentary on the Panama Papers please share. And yes the ICIJ is funded by the Center for Public Integrity which in turn is funded by many foundations which have their agendas, but unless you can cite factual claims for bias in the journalism, so what?
    And as to...Do not expect a genuine expose of western capitalism. The dirty secrets of western corporations will remain unpublished... I am not sure what this western capitalism is supposed to mean, as it capitalism is a world wide system. Oh and many of the revelations are exposing various corporations in the western hemisphere.

    Andrew the leak happened a year ago, research and investigation has been ongoing since and clearly so has been the making of documentaries. All which appeared around the same time as the release deadline was because that is when it is news . What makes this documentary western propaganda?

    Soren so you see Putin face and you imediately know it is all just propaganda, wow. Putin is the most internationally known person connected to the scandal, so no surprise that his image is being used. If you watch the doc. you would see that it mainly focusses on the Australian angle as well i guess that is what the producers thought Australians would be most interested in, go figure.
    Still you are at least correct in that the Americans are not heavily featured, but given that the Panama Papers leak did not reveal much about US involvement, not much the documentary makers could do about that. As to whether we should be suspicious about why this is the case, well that is at least a valid question.

  14. Casablanca

    I'm shocked, shocked, I had not idea that there was gambling at Rick's Cafe.
    By the way inspector here are you winnings.

  15. Søren

    I was so afraid this would be propaganda, and sadly it is.... Does it even contain any bashing against the richest of the rich? AMERICANS. Probably not, and despite countless of people involved in this, all I see is Putin's face, which is why I wont give this smirk campaigne a second of my time. When will we see big banks, bush, obama and all the other? Its sad when Im as a european trusts whatever words come out of putin's mouth than our own leaders

  16. Andrew

    God this is terrible propaganda by western media. Funny how quick they are to make a doco on this subject.

  17. oQ

    The leak is being managed by the grandly but laughably named “International Consortium of Investigative Journalists”, which is funded and organised entirely by the USA’s Center for Public Integrity. Their funders include:
    Ford Foundation
    Carnegie Endowment
    Rockefeller Family Fund
    W K Kellogg Foundation
    Open Society Foundation (Soros)
    among many others.

    Do not expect a genuine expose of western capitalism. The dirty secrets of western corporations will remain unpublished. - Craig Murray

    1. Lovejoy

      UM, no. Those American endowments are only a fraction of the funding for the ICIJ. Here is the current list on their website: Adessium Foundation, Aftenposten, Bay and Paul Foundations, David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation, Ford Foundation, Franklin Philanthropic Foundation, Fund for Nonprofit News at The Miami Foundation (NewsMatch), Green Park Foundation, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Hurd Foundation, John and Florence Newman Foundation, Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, Laura and John Arnold, KCIJ Newstapa, Moses Lubash Family Fund, Neo4j, Omidyar Network, Open Society Foundations, Phalarope Foundation, Rutgers Presbyterian Church, Swedish Postcode Foundation, and in-kind support from Australian philanthropist and businessman Graeme Wood.

  18. oQ

    Good find, now let's see the next documentary on the subject presented by Russia.