Panama Papers posted online in 'public interest'

May 10, 2016, 2:33 AM EDT
(Source: thetaxhaven/flickr)
(Source: thetaxhaven/flickr)

The Panama Papers, a massive trove of documents which revealed how the rich and powerful use offshore companies for tax evasion, have been posted on the internet by a group of investigative journalists. The move by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (I.C.I.J.) came within a few days after the law firm Mossack Fonseca, source of the leaks, called on the body not to publish the documents.

The documents, which list over 200,000 shell companies, foundations and trusts created by politicians, celebrities, sports stars and businessmen in more than 20 tax havens around the world, are now available on offshoreleaks.icij.org, writes the BBC. Last week, Mossack Fonseca sent a “cease and desist” letter to I.C.I.J. in an attempt to block the publishing of data, which it said was accessed through “theft of confidential information.”

The details related to bank accounts, phone numbers and emails have not been published, notes The Guardian. I.C.I.J., which claimed that the sharing of documents was in public interest, carefully released only basic corporate information instead of “data dumping.”  In the introduction of the published database, I.C.I.J. clearly stated that the names of individuals and companies surfacing in the data cache didn’t imply any unlawful activity. 

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