Pandora Papers: Largest leak of offshore data in history explained

KATHMANDU: On the evening of October 4, a shock awaited several current and past leaders of state, as well as more than 130 billionaires.

Their offshore banking dealings, which were typically kept confidential, were public overnight, dominating world news headlines for days. They’d been caught up in the Pandora Papers, the world’s greatest data breach.

What are the Pandora Papers?

In 2019, an unknown source began submitting massive amounts of documents to the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

The files showed a global cast of fugitives, criminals, celebrities, football players, and others, as well as secret assets, clandestine agreements, and hidden riches of the super-rich, including judges, tax authorities, intelligence chiefs, and mayors.

ICIJ head Gerard Ryle adds, “We’re not talking about millions of money here; we’re talking about billions of dollars.”

The ICIJ realised the leak was at a new level when the document dumps continued until 2020.

How big it is: Pandora Papers in numbers

There are 11.9 million documents in 2.94 terabytes of data in the data collection. Details on ownership of 29,000 offshore businesses and trusts were obtained from 14 firms in offshore tax-havens.

Although some documents dating back to the 1970s, the majority of the businesses, trusts, and foundations were formed between 1996 and 2010.

The files were shared by the ICIJ with over 600 journalists from 130 news organisations, making it the largest journalist cooperation in history.

When did all of this take place?

While some of the data dates back to the 1970s, the vast majority of the files examined by ICIJ and its media partners were generated between 1996 and 2020.

They cover a wide range of topics, including the formation of shell companies, foundations, and trusts, the use of such entities to buy real estate, yachts, and jets, the use of such entities to make investments and transfer money between bank accounts, and tax evasion through complex financial schemes.

Some papers have been linked to money laundering and other financial crimes.

What is the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)?

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) was founded in 1997 by the US Center for Public Integrity in Washington, although it has been autonomous since 2017.

It employs people from all over the world, including North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

It has pioneered a new type of collaborative journalism in which media organisations and journalists from all around the world collaborate on a shared platform, similar to a huge newsroom, to investigate leaks.


Fiscal Nepal |
Sunday October 3, 2021, 11:45:19 PM |

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