The Pandora Papers are the latest is a series of massive leaks exposing the dodgy financial dealings of wealthy establishment figures around the world. Curtis Daly explains what they’re about and what we can do about them.
In 2016, an enormous leak of more than 11.5 million financial and legal records revealed a corrupt system of major tax avoidance and evasion. Over 214,000 companies were involved spanning 35 years, exposing confidential details of the corporate elite using offshore tax havens such as The Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, and Bermuda.
This was known as the ‘Panama Papers’… Now, it’s happened again… and this time the leak is even bigger.
The Pandora Papers have exposed 35 current and former world leaders including prime ministers and presidents. The document exposes a further 300 public officials across 90 countries that are also involved.
Unsurprisingly, more than 100 billionaires are featured, as well as celebrities and business leaders.
The document also mentions the dodgy dealings of the Conservative Party.
The leak revealed that major Tory Party donor Mohammed Amersi helped structure a deal worth £162m. It was found that this deal was a bribe for Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of Uzbekistan’s former authoritarian ruler Islam Karimov.
The Tories have some serious explaining to do.
So what is ‘offshore’?
Offshore is essentially a secret world of tax havens, where businesses can pay little to no tax. These include places such as the Cayman Islands, Singapore, the Virgin Islands, and more. Many companies will register under a different name, making it extremely difficult for funds to be traced back to them. This allows them to open up bank accounts under those names. Oftentimes, companies are opened up in these places purely as a placeholder in order to buy property all around the world without the real buyer being listed.
What we know is most likely a tiny crumb of what is actually going on. The Panama Papers, which were leaked from the law firm Mossack Fonseca, were only five years ago. The following year there was another leak named the Paradise Papers, where most of the information came from the offshore company Appleby. Today, with the Pandora Papers, the leak reveals the expansion of offshore providers around the globe.
Recently most of us have had a tax hike through National Insurance, most of us play by the rules – yet if we refuse to pay, the government won’t hesitate to take action.
This is a two tier society, where the global wealthy elites can do as they please. Not only are they allowed to get away with practices to avoid paying tax, but they’re essentially encouraged.
Many of these practices are legal, and with elected officials and industry leaders involved, it’s unlikely change will come from the top. The system isn’t flawed; it’s completely corrupt.
Many demagogues will scapegoat immigrants or so-called ‘benefit scroungers’. Now you know they are trying to play you. The real scroungers are these corporations that use our publicly built facilities, exploit our labour, make their profits, and then syphon it off to offshore accounts in tax havens, paying little or no tax where they operate.
There are others who will tell you we can’t afford X and Y, yet, the money is there – billions of it. We just need the will to go after it.
Let’s not let these people off the hook this time; let’s get back what we’re owed.
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