The Panama Papers: Breaking the Story of How the Rich & Powerful Hide Their Money
By Bastian Obermayer and Frederik Obermaier
“Nothing [is] certain, except death and taxes,” said Benjamin Franklin, who in April was proved wrong by the case of the super-rich found to have stashed their cash. Royals, tycoons, sporting legends, government ministers, banks, big-league criminals, entertainers and more were left cowering from the full force of the public’s indignation following the biggest data leak in history. The so-called Panama Papers story, of the anonymous disclosure of files from Mossack Fonseca, the world’s fourth largest offshore law firm, revealed how the wealthy exploit disreputable tax havens. But the story quickly slipped off the front pages (perhaps thanks to pressure from powerful, mortified tax cheats?), so it must be hoped that for reasons of accountability at least, morbidly fascinating, real-life thrillers such as this don’t go the same way. The German journalists hope that “the Panama Papers will usher in a new era of transparency” while admitting to scepticism regarding “genuine progress … against the shady world of offshore business”. So: business as usual?