Pandora Papers, A Global Investigation: Billions Hidden Beyond Reach. A trove of secret files details opaque financial universe where global elite shield riches from taxes, investigations, and accountability.

Greg Miller, Debbie Cenziper, and Peter Whoriskey, Pandora Papers, A Global Investigation: Billions Hidden Beyond Reach. The Washington Post, Sunday, 3 October 2021. “A massive trove of private financial records shared with The Washington Post exposes vast reaches of the secretive offshore system used to hide billions of dollars from tax authorities, creditors, criminal investigators and — in 14 cases involving current country leaders — citizens around the world. The revelations include more than $100 million spent by King Abdullah II of Jordan on luxury homes in Malibu, Calif., and other locations; millions of dollars in property and cash secretly owned by the leaders of the Czech Republic, Kenya, Ecuador and other countries; and a waterfront home in Monaco acquired by a Russian woman who gained considerable wealth after she reportedly had a child with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Other disclosures hit closer to home for U.S. officials and other Western leaders who frequently condemn smaller countries whose permissive banking systems have been exploited for decades by looters of assets and launderers of dirty money. The files provide substantial new evidence, for example, that South Dakota now rivals notoriously opaque jurisdictions in Europe and the Caribbean in financial secrecy. Tens of millions of dollars from outside the United States are now sheltered by trust companies in Sioux Falls, some of it tied to people and companies accused of human rights abuses and other wrongdoing. The details are contained in more than 11.9 million financial records that were obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and examined by The Post and other partner news organizations. The files include private emails, secret spreadsheets, clandestine contracts and other records that unlock otherwise impenetrable financial schemes and identify the individuals behind them. The trove, dubbed the Pandora Papers, exceeds the dimensions of the leak that was at the center of the Panama Papers investigation five years ago. That data was drawn from a single law firm, but the new material encompasses records from 14 separate financial-services entities operating in countries and territories including Switzerland, Singapore, Cyprus, Belize and the British Virgin Islands. The files detail more than 29,000 offshore accounts, more than double the number identified in the Panama Papers. Among the account owners are more than 130 people listed as billionaires by Forbes magazine and more than 330 public officials in more than 90 countries and territories, twice the number found in the Panama documents.” See also, Key findings from the Pandora Papers investigation, The Washington Post, Washington Post Staff, published on Tuesday, 5 October 2021.

Panama Papers Show How Rich United States Clients Hid Millions Abroad

Eric Lipton and Julie Creswell, Panama Papers Show How Rich United States Clients Hid Millions Abroad. The New York Times, 5 June 2016. Financial transactions “for a stable of wealthy clients from the United States are outlined in extraordinary detail in the trove of internal Mossack Fonseca documents known as the Panama Papers. The materials were obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, and have now been shared with The New York Times. In recent weeks, the papers’ revelations about Mossack Fonseca’s international clientele have shaken the financial world. The Times’s examination of the files found that Mossack Fonseca also had at least 2,400 United States-based clients over the past decade, and set up at least 2,800 companies on their behalf in the British Virgin Islands, Panama, the Seychelles and other jurisdictions that specialize in helping hide wealth…. For many of its American clients, Mossack Fonseca offered a how-to guide of sorts on skirting or evading United States tax and financial disclosure laws.”

[Read more…]

The Bank Robber: The computer technician who exposed a Swiss bank’s darkest secrets

Patrick Radden Keefe, The Bank Robber: The computer technician who exposed a Swiss bank’s darkest secrets. The New Yorker, 30 May 2016. “A few days before Christmas in 2008, Hervé Falciani was in a meeting at his office, in Geneva, when a team of police officers arrived to arrest him. Falciani, who was thirty-six, worked for H.S.B.C., then the largest bank in the world. He was on the staff of the company’s private Swiss bank, which serves clients who are wealthy enough to afford the minimum deposit—half a million dollars—required to open an account…. As the Swiss police escorted him from the building, he insisted that he had done nothing wrong.”

[Read more…]

The Panama Papers: Giant Leak of Offshore Financial Records Exposes Global Array of Crime and Corruption

Bastian Obermayer, Gerard Ryle, Marina Walker Guevara, Michael Hudson, Jake Bernstein, Will Fitzgibbon, Mar Cabra, Martha M. Hamilton, Frederik Obermaier, Ryan Chittum, Emilia Diaz-Struck, Rigoberto Carvajal, Cécile Schilis-Gallego, Marcos Garcia Rey, Delphine Reuter, Matthew Caruana Galizia, Hamish Boland-Rudder, Miguel Fiandor and Mago Torres, Giant Leak of Offshore Financial Records Exposes Global Array of Crime and CorruptionThe International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, 3 April 2016. “Millions of documents show heads of state, criminals and celebrities using secret hideaways in tax havens. In this story: Files reveal the offshore holdings of 140 politicians and public officials from around the world. Current and former world leaders in the data include the prime minister of Iceland, the president of Ukraine, and the king of Saudi Arabia. More than 214,000 offshore entities appear in the leak, connected to people in more than 200 countries and territories. Major banks have driven the creation of hard-to-trace companies in offshore havens.”

About this project.

[Read more…]

‘Redlining’ Home Loan Discrimination Re-emerges as a Concern for Regulators

Rachel L. Swarns, ‘Redlining’ Home Loan Discrimination Re-emerges as a Concern for Regulators. The New York Times, 30 October 2015. “In 2014, Hudson [City Savings Bank] approved 1,886 mortgages in the market that includes New Jersey and sections of New York and Connecticut, federal mortgage data show. Only 25 of those loans went to black borrowers.”

[Read more…]

Swiss Leaks: Banking Giant HSBC Sheltered Murky Cash Linked to Dictators and Arms Dealers

Gerard Ryle, Will Fitzgibbon, Mar Cabra, Rigoberto Carvajal, Marina Walker Guevara, Martha M. Hamilton and Tom Stites, Swiss Leaks: Banking Giant HSBC Sheltered Murky Cash Linked to Dictators and Arms Dealers. International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. 8 February 2015. “HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) continued to offer services to clients who had been unfavorably named by the United Nations, in court documents and in media as connected to arms trafficking, blood diamonds and bribery. HSBC served those close to discredited regimes such as that of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, former Tunisian president Ben Ali and current [2015] Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad…. The bank repeatedly reassured clients that it would not disclose details of accounts to national authorities, even if evidence suggested that the accounts were undeclared to tax authorities in the client’s home country. Bank employees also discussed with clients a range of measures that would ultimately allow clients to avoid paying taxes in their home countries. This included holding accounts in the name of offshore companies to avoid the European Savings Directive, a 2005 Europe-wide rule aimed at tackling tax evasion through the exchange of bank information.”

[Read more…]

The $9 Billion Witness: Meet JPMorgan Chase’s Worst Nightmare, Alayne Fleischmann

Matt Taibbi, The $9 Billion Witness: Meet JPMorgan Chase’s Worst Nightmare. Rolling Stone, 6 Novmeber 2014. “Meet the woman JPMorgan Chase paid one of the largest fines in American history to keep from talking. Chase whistle-blower Alayne Fleischmann risked it all.”

[Read more…]

Inside the New York Fed: Secret Recordings of Carmen Segarra and a Culture Clash

Jake Bernstein, Inside the New York Fed: Secret Recordings and a Culture Clash. ProPublica, 26 September 2014. “A confidential report and a fired examiner’s hidden recorder penetrate the cloistered world of Wall Street’s top regulator–and its history of deference to banks.” This story was co-published with This American Life, from WBEZ Chicago: “536: The Secret Recordings of Carmen Segarra,” 26 September 2014. Listen to the radio version here. And read the transcript of the radio version here.

[Read more…]

Hidden in Plain Sight: New York Just Another Island Haven for Money Laundering into Real Estate

Michael Hudson, Ionut Stanescu and Samuel Adler-Bell, Secrecy for Sale: Inside the Global Offshore Money Maze: Hidden in Plain Sight: New York Just Another Island Haven. International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. 3 July 2014. “Lax U.S. rules and real estate industry’s no-questions-asked approach make it easy for dodgy characters to funnel wealth through high-end Manhattan apartments…. Government officials and their families and associates in ChinaAzerbaijan, Russia, Canada, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, Mongolia and other countries have embraced the use of covert companies and bank accounts. The mega-rich use complex offshore structures to own mansions, yachts, art masterpieces and other assets, gaining tax advantages and anonymity not available to average people.” Winner of the 2014 George Polk Award for Business Reporting.

[Read more…]

The Case for Reparations

Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Case for Reparations. The Atlantic, 21 May 2014. “Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.”

[Read more…]