NOWHERE TO HIDE

15 Jun

NOWHERE TO HIDE
Johann Wagener 6-14-13

Being wealthy and dodging your moral obligation to support those who helped you get rich will no longer be so easy to do.

Is it the biggest bank heist in history with $32tn (£21tn) at stake? The electronic vaults of the Caribbean offshore financial system have been raided and 2.5 million secret files belonging to the global political and business elite have been downloaded.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) – working with The Guardian, Le Monde, Washington Post and over 30 other media outlets – has accessed a huge data dump exposing the financial machinations of the super-rich in “the largest cross-border journalism collaboration in history.”

The investigative epic is called “Secrecy For Sale: Inside The Global Offshore Money Maze.”

As reported by IBTimes US, the findings explore the concealed world of tax havens, cracking open the secrets of more than 120,000 offshore companies and trusts and almost 130,000 individuals in over 170 nations. The big names in international banking, including Clariden, UBS and Deutsche Bank, face a potential new scandal.

Readers can use new interactive database to search information about the ownership of tens of thousands of offshore entities in tax havens

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists overnight published a database that, for the first time in history, will help begin to strip away the secrecy across 10 offshore jurisdictions.

The Offshore Leaks Database allows users to search through tens of thousands of secret companies, trusts and funds created in offshore locales, and displays graphic visualizations of offshore entities and the networks around them, including, when possible, the company’s true owners.

The database is part of a cache of 2.5 million leaked offshore files ICIJ (a project of the Center for Public Integrityanalyzed with 112 journalists in 58 countries. Since April, stories based on the data — the largest stockpile of inside information about the offshore system ever obtained by a media organization — have been published by more than 40 media organizations worldwide, including The Guardian in the U.K., Le Monde in France, Süddeutsche Zeitung and Norddeutscher Rundfunk in Germany, The Washington Post, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

EU Commissioner Algirdas Semeta said the ICIJ’s investigation has transformed tax politics and amplified political will to tackle the problem of tax evasion – and that the need for tax transparency overrides the principle of data privacy.

And during a visit to the White House in May, British Prime Minister David Cameron made astrong pitch for tackling “the scourge of tax havens”, saying “we need to know who really owns a company, who profits from it”.

The Offshore Leaks web app allows readers to discover exactly that – as well as explore the relationships between clients, offshore entities and the lawyers, accountants, banks and other intermediaries who help keep these arrangements secret.

Search the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database at http://offshoreleaks.icij.org or read more aboutwhy we’re making this information available to the public. 

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists online

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