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News > World

Panama Papers Fallout Finally Reaches the Shores of the US

  • Mossack Fonseca is at the heart of the Panama Papers scandal, the biggest leak in history.

    Mossack Fonseca is at the heart of the Panama Papers scandal, the biggest leak in history. | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 April 2016

The massive leak revealing the offshore accounts of the global rich and powerful has finally revealed U.S. names, and they have a history of fraud. 

The fallout from the Panama Papers has finally reached the United States. The Guardian newspaper has mentioned the names of U.S. citizens who have been implicated in the massive leak, exposing the extent of corruption surrounding offshore bank accounts.


US Says it Will Investigate Tax Evasion it Previously Ignored

Perhaps not surprisingly, many of the people mentioned have either been convicted or indicted for various forms of fraud.

Benjamin Wey, for instance, who was born in Tianjin, China, but then moved to Oklahoma, began his career as an investment adviser and broker in Oklahoma before moving to Wall Street.

Wey is the president of New York Global Group, which was indicted last year on securities fraud charges. He is accused of using a front company set up by the Panamanian Mossack Fonseca to hide complex transactions between Chinese operating companies and publicly traded American shell companies

Anthony Gumbiner, a real estate mogul born in the United Kingdom but who now lives in Dallas, Texas, was also named. “He’s a British national with deep Texas ties who settled an insider trading case in 1996 with the Securities and Exchange Commission, paying US$1.7 million in penalties at the time,” the McClatchy DC, one of the organizations involved in reviewing the documents, reported. “A jetsetter in the 1980s, Gumbiner was known for his lavish lifestyle in Monte Carlo.”

Igor Olenicoff, who fled the Soviet Union and now lives in Florida, is another real estate magnate mentioned. He was sentenced to two years of probation for tax evasion and paid a US$52-million fine after hiding more than US$200 million in offshore shell companies.


The Panama Papers

He was also convicted of making knockoffs of a sculpture in 2014 and ordered to pay restitutions to the artist.

These aren't the only names mentioned. McClatchy says there are at least 200 U.S. passports included in the leak, along with the names of upwards of 3,500 people who list U.S. addresses.

Earlier today, U.S. President Barack Obama held a press conference during which he called those exposed in the Panama Papers and tax evasion a phenomena.

According to Obama, these people and companies reap "all the rewards of being an American company, without fulfilling the responsibilities to pay their taxes, the way everyone else is supposed to pay them."

Offshore accounts and tax loopholes stick "the rest of us with the tab, and it makes hard-working Americans feel like the deck is stacked against them," Obama said. Powerful corporations and incredibly wealthy U.S. citizens are "gaming the system ... middle class families are not in the same position to do this."

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