The “Panama Papers” is a phrase used to describe at a minimum, an on going problem with shell companies, offshore accounts, and a clouded global tax reform for big money companies and single entities. This phrase and its true meaning may not only become familiar world wide, but possibly in the U.S.A. as well.
With the astronomical amounts of wealth being hidden in such accounts, most can agree that surely in the hands of some, these massive amounts of money can become without a question down right dangerous. One of the questions not only lies upon where these funds came from, but where these funds will end up once these accounts were emptied prior to being investigated.
Who benefits from the billions of dollars that were lost and liquidated within the “Panama Papers”? What steps can we take to hold large offshore account holders accountable, and are we at risk on our home front to the same types of money laundering?
To sum it up, the “Panama Papers” were obtained from an anonymous source and published in a German newspaper known as Süddeutsche Zeitung. The newspaper exposed the Mossack Fonseca law firm that has sold more than 214,000 letter-box companies worldwide. While the creation of offshore accounts through holding companies is not illegal for more common purposes, such as the protection of inheritance and estate planning, and the protection of assets from currencies restrictions, one must consider the detrimental possibilities of these accounts in the wrong hands on a larger scale.
At the beginning of the “Panama Papers” investigation over 140 politicians from more than 50 countries and their families, associates, heads of state, ministers, and elected officials have been connected to offshore companies that have resulted in approximately 21 unregulated tax havens. The countries that have utilized shell companies and offshore accounts for money laundering to conceal assets and to avoid taxes and other money frauds span across the globe.
For one to speculate and consider the intentions of each and every country, along with its subsidiaries, would merely be impossible. At this point to put it bluntly, we know that large amounts of money come into the hands of an offshore account holder from virtually anywhere. That money is then held in, and filtered through, accounts that are not regulated, monitored or investigated properly due to a lack of legal regulation or due diligence. It would appear to be obvious that specific laws by country, and or state, have plenty of loopholes. If not loopholes, than plenty of under qualified and unregulated officials involved in making this whole scheme work.
So where does that leave the U.S.A. within the “Panama Papers”?
There are roughly 3,100 shell companies operating in the U.S.A. That number compared to the amount of tax evaders in the U.S.A. may be low because of the lack of trust in the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which is a common tax reporting standard that shares tax data in order to combat global tax evasion and crimes. Though Washington and the U.S.A. has yet to firmly plant its feet in joining in this effort to make big money accounts transparent, several other countries are on board to work within this effort to reduce money laundering through shell companies and offshore accounts.
Until we make the tax data of large holders and their accounts truly transparent and obtainable for all, our country may turn into one of the largest tax havens of all time. It would not be wise for any country to allow these loopholes to go untied in this day and age for many reasons. Our security and safety, economic financial health, and well being relies on the transparency and ongoing task of keeping large money holders and their clients in check and regulated.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists – www.panamapapers.icij.org
Rishi Iyengar, Apr 04, 2016, What to Know About the ‘Panama Papers’ Leak, From www.time.com