Some of the Panama Papers Won't Be Released

Leaker had 'very strong moral impulse'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 7, 2016 5:12 AM CDT
Updated Apr 7, 2016 6:46 AM CDT
Some of the Panama Papers Won't Be Released
The entrance of the regional head office of Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, one of the world's biggest creators of shell companies, in Hong Kong.   (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

The newspaper that first received the Panama Papers says it isn't going to release all 11.5 million files it received from a whistleblower to the public or to law enforcement—because it "isn't the extended arm of prosecutors or the tax investigators." Sueddeutsche Zeitung has shared files relating to celebrities and politicians, but the German paper doesn't believe there's public interest in exposing all of the individuals and companies involved, the AP reports. The paper says it was contacted by a source at Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca who felt a "very strong moral impulse" to expose the tax evasion and money laundering the firm facilitated with its creation of thousands of offshore shell companies. In other coverage:

  • Panama's President Juan Carlos Varela, apparently unhappy with his country's name appearing in headlines about financial crimes all over the world, has promised to boost transparency and clean up the industry, the BBC reports. He says the country will bring in international experts to recommend changes.

  • The Guardian looks at how the scandal has exposed China's "red nobility"—wealthy families connected to the Communist Party. Prominent figures named in the papers include the brother-in-law of President Xi Jinping. Unsurprisingly, the scandal is not being reported in China, and censors have been trying to scrub every mention of it from social media.
  • The CBC looks at how the wealth revealed in the leak is just a fraction of what an analyst calls "absolutely astonishing, mind-boggling amounts of money" tied up in offshore funds. Estimates run as high as $31 trillion, or 13% of global wealth, much of which is being kept in offshore funds to cheat governments out of tax revenue—or to hide the plunder of national resources.
  • The New York Times looks at the history of the Mossack Fonseca firm and its role in Panama's economy. Co-founder Ramon Fonseca had been trying to expand his role in the country's government, claiming he wanted to improve the nation's human rights record.
  • At the Atlantic, Brooke Harrington examines the legal issues involved and concludes that the real scandal isn't the law-breaking—it's that so much of what Mossack Fonseca did was perfectly legal.
(Read more Panama Papers stories.)

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