The wealthy and powerful live a life outside of the view of the average citizen. It is a state of existence that is no longer constantly controversial but neither is it necessarily accepted by all. The delicate balance is upheld by secrecy and wealth that can usually conceal whatever becomes unintentionally revealed. In 2021 the disclosure of the Pandora Papers tipped the precarious balance.
Hundreds of investigative journalists from around the world and from the most popular news agencies such as the ABC, Washington Post and the BBC worked through the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) on the investigation to reveal one of the biggest data leaks in history. The papers showed how the wealthy and powerful were continuing to use offshore tax havens to hide their ownership of assets and stash their cash in what can aptly be described as a parallel economy.
The wealthy are able to use offshore territories to set up companies and take advantage of laws that make it easy to conceal their identity as owners of these companies, which means that they can evade taxes of those assets in their own countries and also take advantage of lower tax laws available in these offshore territories.
The information revealed from the investigation spanned several countries including the United States, Australia, Singapore and Russia. It also spans several industries, including the oil industry, government agencies, and even farming. The papers also contained some shocking revelations that implicated banking executives and a few world leaders.
It tells a tale of embezzlement, money laundering of millions of dollars and tax evasion. The nature of these crimes means that there is a complex web behind the scenes that is difficult to unravel. It is even difficult for governments because so many countries are involved and the regulatory laws simply do not cover every scenario in which the perpetrators will operate.
The papers are proof that even unknowing accountants, lawyers and other professionals can unwittingly get caught up in even assisting the perpetrators. However, they also prove that the very individuals who benefit from these illegal acts are also the ones who could prevent it. Naturally, it would not be in their personal interest to have everything arranged legally as it should be.
If you are interested in global financial topics and getting a peek into the unseen economy then this feature will be interesting for you.