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  • Panama Papers

    Panama Papers | Photo: pixabay

Published 3 April 2019
Opinion

After the  Panama Papers scandal, the world has collected around US$1.2 billion in fees and unpaid taxes. 

The Panama Papers made headlines around the world, after an investigation on off-shore accounts of some of the world's most powerful and famous people had been leaked to the German newspaper 'Sueddeutsche'. 

The impact of the publications was heavy, leading to protests across several countries and the resignation of politicians. More than 82 countries began investigations on dozens of individuals across the world. 

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Deutsche Bank Raided in Further Fallout From Panama Papers

Now the first results of the investigations are in. More than US$1.2 billion was recovered since the start of the investigations globally, through back taxes and fees. France tax authorities were able to recover a total of US$136 million after 500 concluded investigations, while the United Kingdom was able to drive in US$252 million. 

The 11.5 million leaked files not only had a financial impact but also led to a series of changes and responses to the shadow world of off-shore businesses. Panama responded immediately by raiding the offices of Mossack Fonseca, leading to the arrest of Jürgen Mossack and Ramon Fonseca on charges of money laundering. Several countries changed their laws to combat tax evasions, leading to more resignations and arrests in the process. 

While offshore businesses are not exactly illegal, it is a major way to evade taxes. It is estimated that around 8 percent of global wealth is held in offshore havens, or around US$7.6 trillion and while not all of it is placed to avoid paying taxes, it is safe to assume that most of the money is. According to the Tax Justice Network campaign group governments lose out on US$500 billion a year on corporate tax and US$200 billion a year on individual tax. Money which could be used for healthcare, education and important infrastructure. 

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