Panama Papers and trade-based financial crime

The so-called Panama Papers have cast a global spotlight on the world of shell companies with obscure beneficial ownership details.

So far, journalists who have examined the leaked documents appear not to have revealed any evidence of trade-based financial crime, but the use of shell companies in this type of criminality is thought to be widespread.

Obscure companies

The 11.5 million leaked documents, which were leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, have connected the names of owners to a substantial number of companies whose reason for existence is obscure.

But there seems little doubt that investigators – either enforcement officers or journalists or both – will be looking much closer at some of these companies, particularly those owned by prominent politicians and high profile individuals.

More to come

The initial reporting emphasis on the Panama Papers has fallen on the use of shell companies as vehicles for paying less tax.

But the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) who are coordinating investigations into the leak’s contents have not finished revealing what they have learned from the Panama Papers and may yet disclose information regarding the papers and trade-based financial crime.

Moreover, if the ICIJ does not do that, it seems likely that others will.

Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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