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When he wasnt aboard his yacht, Farid Bedjaoui held court in the Bulgari Hotel in

Milan, a renovated 18th-century palace nestled between the botanical gardens and
the La Scala theater. Over five years, Bedjaouis hotel tab there exceeded $100,000.
In the plush rooms and the granite-lined lobby, Bedjaoui met with Algerian
government officials and executives from Saipem, the Italian energy giant. Their
agenda, according to witnesses later interviewed by Italian prosecutors: arranging
some $275 million in bribes to help the energy company win more than $10
billion in contracts to build oil and gas pipelines from the North African desert to the
shores of the Mediterranean.To shift the bribe money between countries, Bedjaoui
used a cluster of offshore companies that helped him shield the transactions from
scrutiny, Italian prosecutors claim. Twelve of the 17 shell companies linked to
Bedjaoui were created by Mossack Fonseca, the Panama-based law firm that is at
the center of the Panama Papers scandal, a review of the law firms internal records
by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and other media
partners has found.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz has resigned as chairman of a

Panamanian government commission set up to investigate the Central American
countrys offshore financial industry in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal,
saying that government officials have refused to give the panel full independence.
Stiglitz and Mark Pieth, a Swiss anti-corruption expert, wrote Panamanian President
Juan Carlos Varela on Friday that they were pulling out of the study committee
because they fear government officials will limit the panels freedom to investigate
and keep its final report secret. They said in the letter that government officials had
declined to commit to public release of the panels report and instead had insisted
the groups findings would be the property of the government and that
Panamanian authorities would have sole responsibility for any public
announcements. Such restrictions, they said, made no sense considering that the
panel was set up to investigate concerns about how offshore secrecy encourages
money laundering and other misconduct. How can a group allegedly committed to
transparency write a report that is not transparent? It would undermine our own
credibility, Stiglitz said in telephone interview Friday afternoon. Evidently they
wanted us to be part of a charade to convince people they were serious when in
fact they werent. A government spokesperson issued a brief statement saying
Panamanian officials regretted Stiglitz and Pieths exit from the panel and adding
that the government understands both resignations are related to internal
differences within the panel over which it wont intervene. The statement added:
The Government of Panama reiterates its firm and real commitment to
transparency and international cooperation and how showed this commitment
with clear actions that have been recognized by the international community. In
their resignation letter, Stiglitz and Pieth urged that the independent committee
disband. Stiglitz said he and Pieth will likely issue their own separate report, which
will make the case that being more transparent will help Panamas economy in the
long run. Panamanian authorities established the panel appointing four members
from Panama and three from outside the country in April. President Varela called
for the creation of the committee after the International Consortium of Investigative
Journalists and more than 100 other media partners began publishing stories
exposing how a Panama-headquartered law firm, Mossack Fonseca, had set up hard-
to-trace shell companies for politicians, professional athletes, organized crime
figures and money launderers from around the world. The resulting media firestorm
forced Panamas government to respond. Varela said at the time panel was formed
that his administration was committed to bulletproofing Panamas financial
services sector against threats from people and groups who want to use it for
illegal activities. The commission is supposed to make recommendations to Varela
and other Panamanian officials and write a report on their findings by the end of this
year. Stiglitz and Pieth said that committee members had agreed during a meeting
in New York in early June that Panamas government needed to make the
committees report public no matter what its findings. Pieth said in an interview
Friday with Tages-Anzeiger, a Swiss newspaper that collaborated on the Panama
Papers investigation, that he and Stiglitz decided to resign after an official with
Panamas foreign ministry sent them a rude letter on July 29 that said the
government wouldnt commit to releasing the report. We were a little shocked,
Stiglitz told ICIJ. Before we took the action to resign, we made an effort to contact
the vice president or president, and we were rebuffed. We never got through. Pieth
told Tages-Anzeiger that he and Stiglitz agreed that we dont write secret reports. If
you want to have a clean financial center, transparency is the top priority. In their
letter to Varela, Stiglitz and Pieth wrote: We believe that transparency is at the core
of our mission transparency in Panamas corporate and financial sectors and
transparency regarding the Independent Committees process, findings and final
reports. Given our commitment to transparency and the fact that global standards
are moving towards more disclosure not less, we believe that its essential that our
findings be made public and that Independent Committee members shall be allowed
to speak freely about our findings, recommendations and beliefs. Stiglitz is a
professor at Columbia University in New York and shared the 2001 Nobel prize in
economics. Pieth is a professor of law and criminology at Basel University and spent
more than 20 years as the chair of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Developments working group on corporate bribery. Pieth and Stiglitzs resignation
letter noted that the country has made progress on meeting international standards
aimed at combating money laundering and tax evasion, but said the country needs
stronger laws and better enforcement when it comes to overseeing law firms,
accounting firms and other key players in the offshore financial system. Because
international standards are getting stronger, they said, Panama needs to do more to
keep up. If not, they said, the gap between Panama and these global standards will
increase, with substantial potential damage to Panamas reputation and its place
within the international community. Later Friday afternoon, after fielding questions
about the two panel members resignations, Panamanian officials distributed a nine-
page document that describes itself as the committees July 2016 interim report.
The document recommends more reporting requirements for offshore companies
and suggests other changes in the countrys regulatory practices. It says Panama
should try to reduce and, if possible, eliminate all forms of illicit money flows.
Stiglitz and Pieth, however, said in their letter to President Varela that they had
played no role in writing the document. Had they done so, they said, they would
have made recommendations that go far beyond those that appear in the
document. Neither of us agreed to that report, and it was prepared and submitted
without discussion within the Committee, Stiglitz and Pieth wrote. Indeed, one of
us is not even in receipt of the Final Interim Report, after submitting numerous
requests. While there may be conclusions of that report with which we agree, that
Report should not be considered the work of the Committee. They added that it
appears strange and nontransparent that a report of the committee be submitted
without approval of Stiglitz, the committees chair.
I first heard of ICIJ in 2013 with the Secrecy for Sale project. News that the
Mongolian deputy speaker, Bayartsogt Sangajav, owned $1 million in a Swiss bank
account caused a major debate in Mongolia. Sangajav stepped down as speaker but
remained a member of Parliament. At the time the story broke, I was studying
journalism at The University of Hong Kong. Before that I had worked with Sangajav
at the Mongolian Ministry of Finance. I found the network and collaboration of
journalists working together to reveal corruption both fascinating and effective. I
also found it a pity that nobody was contributing from inside Mongolia. In 2014, I
met some of the reporters from the Secrecy for Sale collaboration in Manila at
Uncovering Asia, the first Asian investigative journalism conference. Mongolian
media tend to shy away from investigative reporting, from the difficult-to-prove
stories. The truth stands no chance against voices silenced by owners, advertisers
and government. Journalism education is weak. With uncompetitive pay and nobody
to cheer you on, it is little wonder not many journalists and newsrooms venture into
the area of covering important but often controversial topics. From day one,
MongolTV wanted to change that. The station is run by young people; the old way of
media and politicians rubbing shoulders in our country always made us
uncomfortable. When the first Panama Papers stories came out our newsroom knew
there had to be Mongolian politicians and public officials involved given the sheer
volume of the leak. We wanted to report and collaborate on this project. I reached
out to my network and emailed ICIJs deputy director, Marina Walker Guevara,
directly. The ICIJ team was kind enough to grant us access, walk us through the
platforms and open the door to the biggest collaboration in the history of the
profession. Screenshot from the MongolTV reportFrom the leak we learned many
politicians and public officials, including a former prime minister of Mongolia, a
foreign affairs advisor to the President and the son of the mayor of Ulaanbaatar,
Mongolias capital, were linked to offshore companies. Their interests in these
assets held outside Mongolia had never been publicly revealed before our stories
came out. In a country where one-fifth of the population live below the poverty line,
and the average household income is about $400 a month, news of these
politicians offshore links prompted major debates in public arenas and in the
parliament. Implicated politicians and their party supporters condemned the
reports, threatened to take us to court and tried to discredit the editorial team and
reporters. We stand by our reports and will continue to do so. The collaboration
allowed us to find paper trails and messages to show the Mongolian public that
politicians do use offshore companies and have had interests in assets held outside
the country. The Panama Papers have allowed our newsroom to investigate how the
system of offshore financial secrecy operates, and help the public have a well-
informed debate around this issue. We are excited and proud to be part of this
effort. The Mongolian people are eager for public hearings or steps to close the
practices of the shadowy offshore industry but the change has yet to come. Until it
does, we will be here reporting and telling the stories that matter. Lkhagva Erdene is
the executive producer of news for MongolTV.

The Geneva public prosecutor has confirmed a criminal investigation is underway

after authorities searched the Geneva Freeport for a contested painting by Amadeo
Modigliani, details of which were revealed in the Panama Papers. Seated Man
(Leaning on a Cane) by Amedeo Modigliani. Photo: Christie's Images / Corbis The
Modigliani painting, known as Seated Man with a Cane, was being stored in the
freeport facility until it was seized by authorities following a search last week. The
painting, which may be worth as much as $25 million, is at the center of a legal
battlebetween the estate of a Jewish art dealer and an art dynasty controlled by
David Nahmad. The Nahmads have insisted in federal and state court in New York
that the family does not possess the Modigliani. An offshore company called
International Art Center, registered by a little-known Panamanian law firm, does. But
according to the Panama Papers investigation, the Nahmad family has controlled
the Panama-based company, International Art Center, for more than 20 years, and
David Nahmad, the family leader, has been the companys sole owner since January
2014. According to the Swiss newspaper Le Temps, the prosecutors
office conducted a search of the premises of the art storage company Rodolphe
Haller, which has already told the U.S. court that it was storing the painting on
behalf of IAC. On Monday, a spokesan for the prosecutors office confirmed an
investigation had been opened and the painting had been seized.

Why didnt ICIJ publish all the Panama Papers files? We are an investigative
journalism organization and, as such, we report stories that are in the public
interest. The Panama Papers expose significant systemic failures inside the offshore
economy. They reveal how politicians, banks, criminals and sports celebrities have
taken advantage of the secrecy provided by tax havens and, in some cases, broken
the law. Those stories and others we are pursuing serve the public interest by
bringing accountability to the offshore industry an industry that has long operated
in the shadows. Other parts of the data are of a private nature and of no interest to
the public. ICIJ will not release personal data en masse but will continue to mine the
full data with its media partners. Will ICIJ at least publish a database of people and
companies? In early May ICIJ will release the names of the more than 214,000
offshore entities incorporated by Mossack Fonseca and the people connected to
them (as beneficiaries, shareholders or directors). The names with links to more
than 200 countries will be added to the Offshore Leaks database (published in
2013), which already contains more than 100,000 paper companies that ICIJ
obtained in a previous leak. The exact release date will be confirmed soon. Sign up
to our mailing list to be the first to know. Will ICIJ share documents from the Panama
Papers with governments? The long-standing policy of ICIJ, and our parent
organization, the Center for Public Integrity, is not to turn over such material. The
ICIJ is not an arm of law enforcement and is not an agent of the government. We are
an independent reporting organization, served by and serving our members, the
global investigative journalism community and the public. Should I assume that
everyone that appears in the Panama Papers is involved in tax avoidance or
evasion? No. There are legitimate reasons to create a company in an offshore
jurisdiction and many people declare them to their tax authorities when that is
required. How can I join the investigation? Once we have finished publishing a
planned series of stories with our partners our attention will turn to countries where
we still have investigative work to do. A number of other media organizations have
reached out to us offering help and support, and we welcome these new offers of
collaboration. We are vetting the requests and plan to pick a few new partners in
the coming weeks. This is not easy data to understand. It took great commitment
from all of our current media partners to find stories of important public interest.
ICIJs data unit provided training to our partners to make sure that everyone
understood the intricacies of the information they were reporting on. If you are a
journalist and want to partner with us send us an email to How does
ICIJ pick its reporting partners? ICIJ is an independent network of nearly 200
investigative journalists in more than 65 countries who work together of issues of
global significance. Sometimes we go to our members with an idea for a project and
sometimes our members come to us with their own ideas or data. The the Panama
Papers investigation, ICIJ members Bastian Obermayer and Frederik Obermaier from
the German newspaper Seddeutsche Zeitung shared the files they had obtained
with ICIJ so we could organize a global investigation. We sometimes work with
journalists and media organizations that are not part of our network, for example in
countries where we havent done work before. We vet those new partners
thoroughly. What do we seek in our partners? 1) Journalists with a proven record in
investigative reporting 2) Media organizations that support slow, deep-dive
investigations 3) Journalists who are team players and are willing to share their work
with other colleagues around the world 4) Generally nice people (life is short!). How
do I get in touch with ICIJ if I want to share a tip or documents? There are a number
of ways to contact ICIJ, depending on the nature of your message or the material
you would like to share. ICIJ also uses PGP encryption: our public key can be found
on the MIT PGP Public Key Server (fingerprint: 986A 572D 3B95 BD42 331E 839A
B532 F18C 2A17 696B); our email address is Who funds ICIJ? ICIJ is
a non-profit organization. We rely heavily on charitable foundations and on financial
support from the public. We do not take funding from governments. Without our
readers support, we cannot exist. Recent ICIJ funders include: Adessium
Foundation, Open Society Foundations, The Sigrid Rausing Trust, The Ford
Foundation, Fritt Ord Foundation and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. We also
receive support from Australian philanthropist Graeme Wood. We welcome
individual donations in support of our work.

The office of U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron issues a statement Wednesday that
there are no offshore funds/trusts which the prime minister, Mrs. Cameron or their
children will benefit from in future. It was the most recent in a string of responses
about Blairmore, an investment fund run by his father Ian and incorporated in the
Bahamas, which avoided paying tax in Britain, as disclosed in the Panama Papers.
Previously the prime ministers statements about whether he or his family
benefitted from his fathers offshore firm Blairmore had been in the present tense,
prompting speculation about future benefits. For instance, a spokesperson said
Tuesday that the prime minister, his wife and their children do not benefit from any
offshore funds. That was after trying to dismiss it as a private matter on Monday.
Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn had pushed back. Its a private matter insofar as
its a privately held interest. But its not a private matter if tax is not being paid. So
an investigation must take place, an independent investigation, unprejudiced, to
decide whether or not tax has been paid. David Cameron addressing the Panama
Papers revelations. Source: BBC I think the Prime Minister, in his own interest,
should tell us exactly whats been going on. He also called for the Cameron
government to take a stronger stance with British crown territories such as the
Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands. They should be told, you must obey U.K.
tax law, you must not become a harbor for tax avoidance and tax evasion. Also on
Tuesday, President Barack Obama spoke out about tax havens. In announcing new
U.S. Treasury rules designed to make it harder for corporations to reduce their taxes
by merging with foreign firms, he also noted, Weve had another reminder in this
big dump of data coming out of Panama that tax avoidance is a big, global problem.
Its not unique to other countries. A lot of it is legal, but thats exactly the problem.
Its not that theyre breaking the laws, its that the laws are so poorly designed.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, battling his Senate colleague Hillary Clinton for the Democratic
nomination for president, meanwhile used the Panama papers to attack her. I was
opposed to the Panama Free Trade Agreement from day one, he said in a
statement released by his campaign. I predicted that the passage of this disastrous
trade deal would make it easier, not harder, for the wealthy and large corporations
to evade taxes by sheltering billions of dollars offshore. I wish I had been proven
wrong about this, but it has now come to light that the extent of Panamas tax
avoidance scams is even worse than I had feared. My opponent, on the other hand,
opposed this trade agreement when she was running against Barack Obama for
president in 2008. But when it really mattered she quickly reversed course and
helped push the Panama Free Trade Agreement through Congress as Secretary of
State. The results have been a disaster. In Pakistan, opponents of Prime Minister
Nawaz Sharif, including retired cricket star and politician Imran Khan, hammered
him with demands that the countrys corruption watchdog open an investigation.
Wednesday Sharif announced that he would do so. Three of his children owned
London real estate through offshore companies. according to files examined by the
International Consortium of International Journalists and its partners.

The Panama Papers investigation has prompted a swift global response in the 24
hours since more than 100 media organizations began publishing and broadcasting
stories, including official investigations opened around the world, mass protests in
the streets of Icelands capital and an immediate censorship drive in China.
Thousands of Icelanders took to the streets of Reykjavik on Monday to demand the
resignation of Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson following the
disclosure by ICIJ, Reykjavik Media, and Suddeutsche Zeitung that he and two
members of his cabinet had owned or controlled secret offshore shell companies.
On Tuesday, Icelands president refused a request from Prime Minister
Gunnlaugsson to dissolve parliament and call snap elections, according to the
Guardian. After initially refusing to step aside, Gunnlaugsson tendered his
resignation on Tuesday afternoon. At the time of writing, his departure had yet to be
agreed by his parliamentary peers or the countrys president, according to the
Guardian. Reykjavk. #panamapapers #rvkmedia
Jhannes Kr. Kristj (@JohannesKrKrist) April 4, 2016 Gunnlaugsson violated
parliamentary ethics rules when he failed to disclose his 50 percent ownership of
Wintris Inc. in 2009. The company held millions of dollars worth of bonds in the
three major Icelandic banks, which collapsed in 2008. The prime minister said the
company was actually his wifes all along and that his 50 percent ownership was
caused by an error by the couples bank. The crowd gathered in the square across
from Parliament House, tossing eggs, bananas, and Icelandic yogurt at the building.
Elsewhere, prosecutors and officials across the world have announced investigations
into the Panama Papers revelations: The United States Department of Justice said it
was reviewing Panama Papers reports for evidence of wrongdoing, and a U.S.
Treasury spokeswoman said the department was aware of the reporting. German
Justice Minister Heiko Maas announced plans for a new national register that will put
an end to anonymous ownership of companies in a bid to fight tax evasion and
financial wrongdoing. In the United Kingdom, HM Revenue and Customs promised to
act swiftly and appropriately to the allegations, and said it was seeking further
data from media organizations. Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President
Vladimir Putin, dismissed the revelations as Putinphobia and accused media of
attempting to destabilize Russia ahead of elections. Peskov also denied
revelations his wife held a secret offshore company. The Chinese government
responded to the Panama Papers with a renewed censorship drive, and banned all
media sites from mentioning the investigation in China. In France, the Finance
Ministry announced an official investigation and President Francois Hollande said: I
can assure you that as information emerges, investigations will be carried out, cases
will be opened and trials will be held. France also put Panama back on their tax
haven blacklist, according to Reuters. Panama will open an investigation into the
law firm at the center of the Panama Papers, Mossack Fonseca. It will be the second
time this year the law firm has faced an official probe. Panama President Juan Carlos
Varela agreed to cooperate with investigations, and the nations attorney general
said Panama would comply with requests for assistance from foreign countries
launching their own investigations. Two Spanish authorities, the Attorney Generals
office and the Finance Ministry, announced investigations, and contacted ICIJ and its
media partners seeking access to the data. The Australian Tax Office confirmed it
was targeting 800 high-net-wealth Australian clients of Mossack Fonseca. In Austria,
regulators announced an investigation into whether two banks named in Panama
Papers stories breached rules on money laundering. Belgiums finance minister
congratulated the journalists who worked on the Panama Papers, and said Belgium
would open an investigation into its findings. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
asked for a special multi-agency task force to be established to probe the Panama
Papers revelations for evidence of tax evasion or wrongdoing by Indian citizens. The
Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority reached out to authorities in Luxembourg
for information as it commenced an investigation into Nordic banking giant Nordea,
after revelations the bank helped clients set up secret offshore accounts. Norways
bank regulatory body, the Financial Supervisory Authority, also said it would seek an
explanation from Norwegian banks named in the investigation. In Mexico, the tax
authority said it would review the Panama Papers findings and open investigations
against tax evaders. It said it would invoke exchange of information agreements
with other countries as it sought more information. The head of advocacy group
Transparency Internationals branch in Chile resigned on Monday following
revelations he held a number of offshore companies. The Costa Rican government
used the Panama Papers revelations to call for law and policy reform to crackdown
on tax evasion and money laundering. Mossack Fonseca has denied wrongdoing,
and published its full response to the revelations on its website. Founding partner
Ramon Fonseca denounced the Panama Papers investigation as an attack on
privacy. ICIJ and its media partners will continue publishing more findings over the
coming days and weeks.

The Panama Papers is an unprecedented investigation that reveals the offshore links
of some of the globes most prominent figures. The International Consortium of
Investigative Journalists, together with the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung
and more than 100 other media partners, spent a year sifting through 11.5 million
leaked files to expose the offshore holdings of world political leaders, links to global
scandals, and details of the hidden financial dealings of fraudsters, drug traffickers,
billionaires, celebrities, sports stars and more. The trove of documents is likely the
biggest leak of inside information in history. It includes nearly 40 years of data from
a little-known but powerful law firm based in Panama. That firm, Mossack Fonseca,
has offices in more than 35 locations around the globe, and is one of the worlds top
creators of shell companies, corporate structures that can be used to hide
ownership of assets. ICIJs analysis of the leaked records revealed information on
more than 214,000 offshore companies connected to people in more than 200
countries and territories. The data includes emails, financial spreadsheets,
passports and corporate records revealing the secret owners of bank accounts and
companies in 21 offshore jurisdictions, including Nevada, Hong Kong and the British
Virgin Islands. ICIJs data and research unit indexed, organized and analyzed the 2.6
terabytes of data that make up the leak, using collaborative platforms to
communicate and share documents with journalists working in 25 languages in
nearly 80 countries. Special thanks go to the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the
African Network of Centers for Investigative Reporting (ANCIR), Code for Africa, the
International Center for Journalists and Shutterstock. The Team: Project Managers:
Marina Walker Guevara and Gerard Ryle Data Editor: Mar Cabra Research Editor:
Emilia Diaz-Struck Editors: Michael Hudson, Martha M. Hamilton, Gerard Ryle,
Marina Walker Guevara and Tom Stites Online Editor: Hamish Boland-Rudder Data
and Research Unit: Rigoberto Carvajal, Matthew Caruana Galizia, Ccile Schilis-
Gallego and Miguel Fiandor Gutirrez ICIJ reporters: Will Fitzgibbon, Jake Bernstein,
Ryan Chittum, Martha M. Hamilton, Michael Hudson, Marcos Garcia Rey, Alexa
Olesen and Delphine Reuter Sddeutsche Zeitung reporters: Bastian Obermayer and
Frederik Obermaier Researcher: Mago Torres Fact checkers: Richard H.P. Sia and
Peter Smith Web design and development: lvaro Ortiz, Fernando Blat and Jorge
Sancha from Populate Main image: Arthur Jones and Shutterstock The Power Players
interactive: Kiln Reporters: Lyas Hallas (Algeria) Mariel Fitz Patrick (Argentina) Hugo
Alconada (Argentina) Ricardo Brom (Argentina) Momi Peralta (Argentina) Maia
Jastreblansky (Argentina) Ivn Ruiz (Argentina) Santiago ODonnell (Argentina)
Sandra Crucianelli (Argentina) Sol Lauria (Argentina, Panama) Kristine Alghalaryan
(Armenia) Dave Bloss (Georgia) Sally Neighbour (Australia) Marian Wilkinson
(Australia) Elise Worthington (Australia) Mario Christodoulou (Australia) Morag
Ramsay (Australia) Lisa Main (Australia) Sophia ORourke (Australia) Ali Russell
(Australia) Stephen Oxley (Australia) Ruth Fogarty (Australia) Neil Chenoweth
(Australia) Edmund Taros (Australia) Misa Han (Australia) Primrose Riordan
(Australia) Jonathan Barrett (Australia) Florian Klenk (Austria) Josef Redl (Austria)
Ulla Kramar-Schmid (Austria) Jakob Weichenberger (Austria) Kaspar Fink (Austria)
Stefan Daubrawa (Austria) Gnther Hack (Austria) Lars Bov (Belgium) Kristof Clerix
(Belgium) Alain Lallemand (Belgium) Xavier Counasse (Belgium) Joel Matriche
(Belgium) Drew Sullivan (Bosnia ) Miranda Patrucic (Bosnia ) Alvin Ntibinyane
(Botswana) Mbo Mguni (Botswana) Joel Konopo (Botswana) Jose Roberto de Toledo
(Brazil) Daniel Bramatti (Brazil) Rodrigo Burgarelli (Brazil) Guilherme Jardim Duarte
(Brazil) Isabela Bonfim (Brazil) Franz Vacek (Brazil) Mauro Tagliaferri (Brazil) Diego
Vega (Brazil) Fernando Rodrigues (Brazil) Andr Shalders (Brazil) Douglas Pereira
(Brazil) Mateus Netzel (Brazil) Alexenia Dimitrova (Bulgaria) Gino Harel (Canada)
Frdric Zalac (Canada) Ronna Syed (Canada) Robert Cribb (Canada) Tanya Talaga
(Canada) Marco Oved (Canada) Alberto Arellano (Chile) Carlos Eduardo Huertas
(Colombia, Panama) Nathan Jaccard (Colombia, Panama) Giannina Segnini (Costa
Rica) Alejandra Fernndez-Morera (Costa Rica) Antonio Jimnez (Costa Rica) Henry
Arroyo (Costa Rica) Mauricio Arroyo (Costa Rica) Ernesto Rivera (Costa Rica) Javier
Crdoba (Costa Rica) Mara Florez Estrada (Costa Rica) Diego Arguedas Ortiz (Costa
Rica) lvaro Murillo (Costa Rica) Pavla Holcova (Czech Republic) Sren Kristensen
(Denmark) Michael Klint (Denmark) Maria Lyhne Hj (Denmark) Maria Andersen
(Denmark) Peter Jrgensen (Denmark) John Hansen (Denmark ) Arturo Torres
(Ecuador) Mnica Almeida (Ecuador) Xavier Reyes (Ecuador) Pal Mena (Ecuador)
Andrs Jaramillo (Ecuador) Alberto Araujo (Ecuador) Hisham Allam (Egypt) Jos Luis
Sanz (El Salvador) Csar Castro Fagoaga (El Salvador) Jimmy Alvarado (El Salvador)
Minna Knus-Galan (Finland) Kjell Lindroos (Finland) Serge Michel (France) Christophe
Ayad (France) Franois Bougon (France) Samuel Laurent (France) Maxime Vaudano
(France) Jeremie Baruch (France) Anne Michel (France) Simon Piel (France) Joan
Tilouine (France) Jean-Baptiste Chastand (France) Benoit Vitkine (France) Nathaniel
Herzberg (France) Yann Bouchez (France) Mathilde Damge (France) Edouard Perrin
(France) Benot Bringer (France) Emmanuel Gagnier (France) Yousset Ait Akdim
(France) Jan Strozyk (Germany) Julia Stein (Germany) Benedikt Strunz (Germany)
Nils Casjens (Germany) Peter Hornung (Germany) Elena Kuch (Germany) Willem
Konrad (Germany) Christoph Ltgert (Germany) Kersten Mgge (Germany) Christian
Deker (Germany) Vanessa Wormer (Germany) Christoph Giesen (Germany) Katrin
Langhans (Germany) Mauritius Much (Germany) Gianna Niewel (Germany) Hannes
Munzinger (Germany) John Goetz (Germany) Petra Blum (Germany) Harry Karanikas
(Greece) Andras Petho (Hungary) Jhannes Kr. Kristjnsson (Iceland) Adalsteinn
Kjartansson (Iceland) Ritu Sarin (India) Jay Mazoomdaar (India) Vaidyanathan Iyer
(India) Wahyu Dhyatmika (Indonesia) Philipus Parera (Indonesia) Agoeng Wijaya
(Indonesia) Mustafa Silalahi (Indonesia) Colm Keena (Ireland ) John McManus
(Ireland ) Uri Blau (Israel) Shuki Sadeh (Israel) Daniel Dolev (Israel) Leo Sisti (Italy)
Vittorio Malagutti (Italy) Paolo Biondani (Italy) Gloria Riva (Italy) Stefano Vergine
(Italy) Yasuomi Sawa (Japan) Toshihiro Okuyama (Japan) Scilla Alecci (Japan) Alessia
Cerantola (Japan) Musab Shawabkeh (Jordan) Jacqueline Kubania (Kenya) John
Kamau (Kenya) Sanita Jemberga (Latvia) Inga Springe (Latvia) Evita Purina (Latvia)
arnas erniauskas (Lithuania) Nigel Aw (Malaysia) Aidila Razak (Malaysia) David
Dembele (Mali) Pierre Portelli (Malta) Ray Bugeja (Malta) Caroline Muscat (Malta)
Ivan Camilleri (Malta) Jacob Borg (Malta) Kevin Schembri (Malta) Daniel Lizrraga
(Mexico) Irving Huerta (Mexico) Rafael Cabrera (Mexico) Sebastin Barragn
(Mexico) Mago Torres (Mexico) Jorge Carrasco (Mexico) Mathieu Tourliere (Mexico)
Iurie Sanduta (Moldova) Lkhagva Erdene (Mongolia) Nomin Chinbat (Mongolia) Bat-
Erdene Gankhuyag (Mongolia) Shinovene Immanuel (Namibia) Tangeni Amupadhi
(Namibia) Tileni Mongudhi (Namibia) Ndanki Kahiurika (Namibia) Gaby de Groot
(Netherlands) Siem Eikelenboom (Netherlands) Jan Kleinnijenhuis (Netherlands)
Martijn Roessingh (Netherlands) Karlijn Kuijpers (Netherlands) Nicky Hager (New
Zealand) Alex Van Wel (New Zealand) Gyles Beckford (New Zealand) Jane Patterson
(New Zealand) Patrick OMeara (New Zealand) Andrea Vance (New Zealand) Jessica
Mutch (New Zealand) Lee Taylor (New Zealand) Chris Cooke (New Zealand) Simon
Dallow (New Zealand) Carlos Fernando Chamorro (Nicaragua) Arlen Cerda
(Nicaragua) Musikilu Mojeed (Nigeria) Ini Ekot (Nigeria) Joshua Olufemi (Nigeria)
Emmanuel Mayah (Nigeria) Per Anders Johansen (Norway) Nina Selbo Torset
(Norway) Sigurd Bjrnestad (Norway) Trond J. Strm (Norway) Per Kristian Aale
(Norway) Lars Inge Staveland (Norway) Fredrik Hager-Thoresen (Norway) Halvor
Solhjem Njerve (Norway) Umar Cheema (Pakistan) Rolando Rodrguez (Panama) Rita
Vsquez (Panama) Lourdes de Obalda (Panama) John Scott Bronstein (Panama) Luis
Buron (Panama) Mabel Rehnfeldt (Paraguay) Juan Carlos Lezcano Flecha (Paraguay)
Arturo Zarratea Herreros (Paraguay) Juan Calcena Ramirez (Paraguay) Julio Benitez
Daz (Paraguay) Juan Carlos Dos Santos (Paraguay) Milagros Salazar (Peru) Arams
Castro (Peru) Gabriela Flores (Peru) Gabriel Arriarn (Peru) Gustavo Gorriti (Peru)
Luisa Garca (Peru) Romina Mella (Peru) Fabiola Torres (Peru) scar Castilla (Peru)
Luis Yez Quiroz (Peru) Vadim Makarenko (Poland) Leszek Baj (Poland) Bartosz Chyz
(Poland) Micael Pereira (Portugal) Rui Araujo (Portugal) Omaya Sosa Pascual (Puerto
Rico) Carla Minet (Puerto Rico) Paul Radu (Romania) Mihai Munteanu (Romania)
Daniel Bojin (Romania) Roman Anin (Russia) Olesya Shmagun (Russia) Mika
Velikovsky (Russia) Roman Shleynov (Russia) Momar Niang (Senegal) Tidiane
Hamadou Sy (Senegal) Stevan Dojcinovic (Serbia) Jelena Vasic (Serbia) Anuska Delic
(Slovenia) Khadija Sharife (South Africa) Amanda Potgieter (South Africa) Barry
Sergeant (South Africa) Sam Sole (South Africa) Stefaans Brummer (South Africa)
Craig McKune (South Africa) Lionel Faull (South Africa) Fergus Gibbons (South Africa)
Yongjin Kim (South Korea) Yoojung Lee (South Korea) Yoonwon Choi (South Korea)
Daniele Grasso (Spain) Jess Escudero (Spain) Rafael Mndez (Spain) lvaro Rivas
(Spain) Joaqun Castelln (Spain) Nacho Calle (Spain) Vernica Ramrez (Spain)
Nacho Bernaldo de Quirs (Spain) Fredrik Laurin (Sweden) Joachim Dyfvermark
(Sweden) Sven Bergman (Sweden) Linda Larsson Kakuli (Sweden) Kristina
Lagerstrm (Sweden) Fouad Youcefi (Sweden) Titus Plattner (Switzerland) Catherine
Boss (Switzerland) Christian Brnnimann (Switzerland) Oliver Zihlmann
(Switzerland) Alexandre Haederli (Switzerland) Noele Illien (Switzerland) Linda von
Burg (Switzerland) Lena Wrgler (Switzerland) Hamoud Almahmoud (Syria) Yi-Shan
Chen (Taiwan) Wei Lin Chen (Taiwan) Beta Du (Taiwan) Prangtip Daorueng (Thailand)
Camini Marajh (Trinidad and Tobago) Malek Khadhraoui (Tunisia) Sana Sbouai
(Tunisia) Basma Shtawi (Tunisia) Tabu Butagira (Uganda) James Oliver (UK) Andy
Head (UK) David Thompson (UK) James Melley (UK) Simon Cox (UK) Conor
Spackman (UK) Marc Perkins (UK) Eli Melki (UK) Jonathan Coffey (UK) Simon Bowers
(UK) Juliette Garside (UK) Bengtsson (UK) David Pegg (UK) Holly Watt (UK) Luke
Harding (UK) Paul Farrell (UK) Owen Gibson (UK) Rupert Neate (UK) Nick Evershed
(UK) Dan Susman (UK) Nick Hopkins (UK) David Leigh (UK) Vlad Lavrov (Ukraine)
Anna Babinec (Ukraine) Victoria Fernndez (Uruguay) Guillermo Draper (Uruguay)
Bernat Ivancsics (USA) Marie-Emma Paoli (USA) Masako Melissa Hirsch (USA) Aram
Chung (USA) Alice Brennan (USA) Laura Juncadella (USA) Adam Weinstein (USA)
Miriti Murungi (USA) Alcione Gonzalez (USA) Catherine Dunn (USA) Brian Clifton
(USA) Rafael Fernandez (USA) Gary Rivlin (USA) Kevin Hall (USA) Jim Asher (USA)
Marisa Taylor (USA) Greg Gordon (USA) Tim Johnson (USA) Clarice Silber (USA) Rick
Rothacker (USA) Jim Wyss (USA) Jacqueline Charles (USA) Nicholas Nehamas (USA)
Casey Frank (USA) Margarita Rabin (USA) Juan Cooper (USA) Gerardo Reyes (USA)
Ronny Rojas (USA) Peniley Ramirez (USA) Toms Ocaa (USA) Tamoa Calzadilla
(USA) Eric Lipton (USA) Julie Creswell (USA) Scott Shane (USA) Mike McIntire (USA)
Kitty Bennett (USA) Sarah Cohen (USA) Scott Higham (USA) Ana Swanson (USA)
Debbie Cenziper (USA) Steven Rich (USA) Joseph Poliszuk (Venezuela) Ewald
Scharfenberg (Venezuela) Alfredo Meza (Venezuela) Katherine Pennacchio
(Venezuela) Laura Weffer (Venezuela) Fabiola Zerpa (Venezuela) Csar Btiz
(Venezuela) Lisseth Boon (Venezuela) Ronna Rsquez (Venezuela) Roberto Deniz
(Venezuela) Ahiana Figueroa (Venezuela) Ray Choto (Zimbabwe) Thomas Chiripasi
(Zimbabwe) Montather Naser (Iraq) Mohammad AlKawmani (Yemen) Mensah K
(Togo) Moussa Aksar (Niger) Kwetey Nartey (Ghana) Sandrine Sawadogo (Burkina
Faso) Luis Nhachote (Mozambique) Aderito Caldeira (Mozambique) Erick Kabendera
(Tanzania) Nashreen Edoobaccus (Mauritius) Ali Amar (Morocco) Christophe
Christophe Guguen (Morocco)

Christopher Williams had been waiting 90 minutes inside the office of a helicopter
tour company on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, keeping a careful eye on the airport
parking lot below. In his hands he held court papers, ready to be served on a
Russian billionaire locked in a high-stakes divorce. He wore a small video camera to
record the moment. Suddenly Williams saw his chance. He uncrossed his legs and
exhaled. He opened the door and sprinted down a short flight of stairs and across
the asphalt to a convoy of white SUVs. Inside one of the vehicles was Dmitri
Rybolovlev, a mining magnate. His wife Elena claimed he was hiding money she
sought in their divorce. For Dmitri, Williams said as he flung the court papers
through an open drivers side window into the lap of one of the billionaires
chauffeurs. He locked eyes with Rybolovlev as the driver hit the gas pedal to speed
away. Served! Williams shouted, breathlessly. Russian billionaire President Dmitri
Rybolovlev and his daughter Ekaterina Rybolovleva. Photo: AP Photo / Lionel
Cironnea Williams pursuit was one episode in a global asset hunt in one of the
worlds bitterest divorces. It illustrates the lengths that spouses, their lawyers and
professional trackers must go in search of wealth stashed offshore in complex
networks of companies and trusts. The details of the Rybolovlev divorce struggle
and many others are contained in secret files obtained by the International
Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the German newspaper Sddeutsche
Zeitung and other media partners. The more than 11 million documents, dating
from 1977 to December 2015, offer an inside view of Mossack Fonseca, a global law
firm based in Panama that helps customers create offshore shelters. They provide
facts and figures cash transfers, incorporation dates, links between companies
and individuals that illuminate a dark alternate universe where some people go to
play by different rules. Family fraud? A dishonest husband is as much a fraudster as
Bernard Madoff, Martin Kenney, an asset recovery specialist in the British Virgin
Islands who has worked on behalf of wives from Russia, the United Kingdom,
Switzerland and the United States, told ICIJ. These offshore companies and
foundations . . . are instruments in a game of hide and concealment. At the heart
of Elena Rybolovlevas legal battle was the allegation that her estranged husband
now ranked by Forbes as Russias 14th richest man had used tax havens to help
obscure real estate and other wealth. The documents Williams served that day
targeted Rybolovlevs $88 million New York City penthouse, a purchase that Elena
claims violated an order by a Swiss court freezing his assets. But her attorney
claimed there were greater treasures at stake elsewhere. Rybolovlev controlled an
offshore company that was used to buy and store artwork worth $650 million, her
attorney alleged in court documents filed in the British Virgin Islands. For decades,
spouses nearly always male and part of the global One Percent have solicited
Mossack Fonseca to help shield assets from soon-to-be exes, according to the files.
And Mossack Fonseca has agreed with little hesitation. In Thailand, the firm offered
help when a husband asked in an email for a silver bullet in case his wife ever
tried to strip him of his assets. In Ecuador, Mossack Fonseca employees proposed
shell companies to a customer who needs to acquire a Panamanian corporation to
transfer assets before the divorce. From Luxembourg, employees joked and sent
emoticon winks when they agreed to help another husband, a Dutch man who
wanted to protect assets against the unpleasant results of a divorce (on the
horizon!) Offshore service providers that knowingly place a husbands assets
beyond a wifes reach can be sued, experts say. The closer in proximity to a divorce
when these people take these kinds of steps, the more likely these assets will
eventually be set aside for marital fraud, said Sanford K. Ain, a Washington D.C.-
based divorce attorney. Ain worked on one case so complex he kept an intricate
diagram of the husbands bank accounts, companies and trusts on a notebook in his
desk. It looked like someone had thrown spaghetti on a page, he recall. He said it
cost $2 to $3 million to track all the assets down. Michelle Young, who fought a well-
publicized divorce battle, founded an organization in 2014 to help defrauded ex-
wives navigate the costly British court system. Its a blood sport, Young said.
Unless youve got the funds, youre dead and buried. Young has spent seven
years and millions of dollars tracing assets linked to her ex-husband, property
developer Scot Young, who used Mossack Fonseca and other offshore service
providers to manage a tangled financial empire that included companies and bank
accounts in Russia, the British Virgin Islands and Monaco. Its like a baby Enron
there are so many assets, she said in an interview from London. Michelle Young
(second to the right) and other members of the 'First Wives Club.' Photo: Amelia
Troubridge for the Observer In 2013, Young won $32 million in a divorce settlement.
Shortly after his appeal against the settlement failed, Scot Young was found impaled
on spiked railings after plummeting from the fourth floor of his London apartment.
His girlfriend said hed told her he was going to jump, but authorities said they
could not say for sure if he committed suicide or simply fell. We are not involved in
managing our clients companies, said Mossack Fonseca in a statement. Excluding
the professional fees we earn, we do not take possession or custody of clients
money, or have anything to do with any of the direct financial aspects related to
operating their businesses. The firm added: We regret any misuse of companies
that we incorporate or the services we provide and take steps wherever possible to
uncover and stop such use. Love lost Dmitri Rybolovlev married Elena, a fellow
student with whom he had fallen in love at a university in the Urals, in 1987. Over
the next 20 years, the couple had two children, moved to Switzerland and made a
fortune. Dmitri became known as Russias Fertilizer King. They were, lawyers later
stated, fabulously rich. In December 2008, Elena Rybolovleva filed for divorce,
citing a prolonged period of strained marital relations. Under Swiss law, each
spouse was entitled to an equal split of the couples wealth. Deciding what assets
should be part of the split wasnt so simple. As the Rybolovlevs wealth had
increased, so had a complex network of offshore companies. Picasso's 'Les Noces de
Pierrette' was one of a number of paintings held offshore by Xitrans Finance Ltd. For
instance, in 2002 Mossack Fonseca had incorporated Xitrans Finance Ltd in the
British Virgin Islands. The offshore company, no more than a post office box in
sunny Tortola, was a mini-Louvre museum when it came to its assets; Xitrans
Finance Ltd owned paintings by Picasso, Modigliani, Van Gogh, Monet, Degas and
Rothko. It also bought Louis XVI style desks, tables and drawers made by some of
Pariss grandest furniture makers. As the marriage broke down, according to notes
from a court hearing sent via email to Mossack Fonseca in January 2009, Dmitri
used Xitrans Finance Ltd to move these luxury items out of Switzerland to Singapore
and London, beyond her reach. While Xitrans Finance Ltd was held by the
Rybolovlev family trust, according to Mossack Fonsecas records, only Dmitri
Rybolovlev held shares in the company, despite Elenas claim that Xitrans bought
assets on behalf of herself and her husband. In 2014, after years of legal
wrangling, a Swiss court awarded Elena $4.5 billion. An appeals court later
reportedly slashed this figure to $600 million when it re-calculated the undisclosed
settlement based on money held in Ryboloblevs Cypriot trusts. Dmitry Rybolovlev
and Elena Rybolovleva declined to comment. Equal wrongs Wives arent immune to
the temptation to use offshore hideaways. In 2004, Mossack Fonseca staff met with
Marcela Dworzak, wife of retired Gen. Antonio Ibrcena Amico, Perus former naval
chief and a friend to ex-President Alberto Fujimori. Shortly after the end of the
Fujimori regime in 2000, Dworzaks husband had been convicted of corruption and
embezzlement for his role in a military arms deal. The files show Mossack Fonseca
employees were concerned by a media report that claimed that a member of
Dworzaks family had used an offshore company to launder money through real
estate and into her bank account. The name of the suspect offshore company
reported in the media was similar to one of Dworzaks two companies registered
with Mossack Fonseca, Alverson Financial S.A. The journalists had misspelled the
companys name, Mossack Fonseca suspected, and the company in question was
one of theirs. To clear up this issue, Dworzak visited Mossack Fonsecas
headquarters in Panama. With lawyers at her side, she assured employees at the
law firm that Alverson Financial S.A. was, in fact, her company and that everything
had been done in a transparent, legal and clean way. Her companies were only
used to hide assets from her husband. She has been separated for years from her
husband, an official of the Fujimori government, and the companies were to protect
the property she inherited from her family against the possible divorce, Mossack
Fonseca employees reported in an intra-company note. Dworzaks lawyers
confirmed that she does not want him to know about the goods she has,
according to notes from the meeting shared among Mossack Fonseca employees.
After some discussion, Mossack Fonseca accepted Dworzaks explanation and she
remained a client of the firm. Years later, Peruvian authorities did investigate
Dworzak for money laundering. She now lives in Chile and has not returned to Peru
to face allegations that she used a Panamanian bank account to hold money from
the corrupt arms deal for which her husband was convicted. The Ibarcena-Dworzak
family denies all wrongdoing and claims Perus allegations are politically motivated.
Dworzak declined to comment. Rotten edifice Like the Rybolovlevs, Nichola Joy
and Clive Joy-Moranchos divorce has been expensive and well publicized. The
couple separated in December 2011 after more than five years of marriage and
three children. Since then Nichola Joy has been seeking $40 million in assets that
she says should be hers. At issue are at least two London homes, a charter plane, a
six-bedroom French chateau, a Caribbean villa and a plot of land in a Swiss ski
village. Joy-Morancho, a Zimbabwean-born aviation tycoon, insists the fortune is tied
up offshore and not his to use. He says he will suffer financial ruin if hes forced to
meet his ex-wifes demands. A Bentley car similar to the one the Joys fought over in
court. Photo: Smhur (CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 In late 2014, an English judge
decided the fate of some of the feuding ex-couples disputed wealth, which included
vintage cars worth millions. Of the 35-car collection that included a Bentley, a
Ferrari and two McLarens, Joy-Morancho found his Alfa-Romeo particularly pretty,
he told the court. The judge, Sir Peter Singer, refused Joys request for the cars and
any value they might have. Even though Joy-Morancho had described the collection
as mine, in the eyes of the law the cars were not owned by their driver but by a
trust via an offshore company. Joy won $180,000 a year until the final decision is
made on how to split the remainder of Joy-Moranchos wealth. The judge criticized
both sides but reserved his harshest words for Joy-Morancho, his friends and
business associates. Their position is an elaborate charade, the stage management
of which has been conducted ruthlessly and without regard to cost, the judge
wrote, calling the ex-husbands case a rotten edifice founded on concealment and
misrepresentation and therefore a sham, a charade, bogus, spurious and contrived.
The files show Mossack Fonseca has been part of Joy-Moranchos offshore edifice for
years. The firm has hundreds of emails and files on Joy-Morancho and businessmen
and dealings connected to him dating back to 1997. The firm has earned thousands
of dollars for paper-pushing in the name of some of the same companies and
directors used in England to contest his ex-wifes claim. In May 2013, Joys lawyers
sent Mossack Fonseca a court order to freeze Joy-Moranchos wealth until the courts
divvied up the couples belongings. As the British Virgin Islands representative for
Glengarriff Property Holdings Limited, a company that owned two disputed London
homes, Mossack Fonseca was prohibited from doing anything that could harm Joys
rights. The consequences for breach of a Freezing Injunction are serious, and we as
Registered Agent, must act responsibly, Daphne Durand, a legal supervisor in
Mossack Fonsecas compliance office in the British Virgin Islandswarned her
colleagues. In any case, it may not have mattered; Justice Singer ruled that Joy-
Morancho passed official ownership of the London homes to an offshore trust before
he married Joy, who could not therefore claim the properties as part of their
marriage. I was nave, innocent of what trust fund meant when I married him,
Nichola Joy told ICIJ in an email. The problem is that the cost to fight this injustice
precludes me and my ex knows it, Joy wrote. The law has to change, these
offshore trusts make a mockery of justice. Joy-Morancho did not respond to
requests for comment. A judge may eventually decide on what is left of Joys $40
million settlement demand. But with offshore companies and trusts obstructing her
path, Joy faces a challenge familiar to many ex-spouses who chase assets across
the globe. Behind it all, Justice Singer noted, is an ex-husband with a desire to
vanquish her financially. He has two horrors, the judge said: paying anything
that cannot be avoided to tax collectors or to his ex-wife.

On May 15, 2014, the prime minister of Iceland stood before parliament answering
questions about how aggressively his government would sniff out tax cheats and
fraudsters who use secret offshore companies. Would Iceland follow Germanys lead
by purchasing revealing data from offshore whistleblowers?

The prime minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, hedged.

It was extremely important that people work together on this, he agreed. But
whether obtaining the information would be realistic and useful was unclear, he
said, adding that he trusted the tax officials to make the right decision.

What wasnt known was that the offshore files Iceland was considering buying
included offshore companies linked to him and at least two other top members of
his ruling government.

These findings emerge from millions of secret files obtained by the International
Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the German newspaper Sddeutsche
Zeitung and other media partners. More than 11 million documents emails, cash
transfers and company incorporation details from 1977 to December 2015 show
the inner workings of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, one of the largest
shell-company registration agents in the offshore world. The files reveal confidential
information about 214,488 entities registered for individuals and companies in more
than 200 countries and territoriesincluding a company created in the British Virgin
Islands in 2007 called Wintris Inc.
Gunnlaugssons offshore saga

Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson rose to power on a wave of anti-bank anger in the

aftermath of the Icelandic financial crisis, which saw the countrys three major
banks fail spectacularly over a few days in October 2008 following years of
speculation and self-dealing. A journalist and radio-TV personality he finished
third in a sexiest man in Iceland contest in 2004 an outspoken Gunnlaugsson led
a group called InDefence after the crash that campaigned for Iceland to reject
bailing out international creditors on billions of dollars in deposits in the banks. In
two national referenda, voters sided with InDefence, and the successful campaign
helped bring Gunnlaugsson and his party to power.

In January 2009 the Progressive Party elected Gunnlaugsson, a nationalist who once
went on an Icelandic-only diet, its chairman to put a fresh young face on a party
with roots in Icelands agrarian past. At age 38, he would become the youngest
prime minister in the countrys history in 2013, promising to play hardball with
foreign creditors, offer debt relief to struggling homeowners and end austerity
programs. As prime minister, Gunnlaugssons government reached an agreement
with creditors in 2015 that his old group InDefence criticized as too generous.

The Mossack Fonseca documents show Gunnlaugssons family unbeknownst to

Icelanders had a big personal stake in the outcome for bank creditors.

Anna Sigurlaug Plsdttir, wife of Iceland Prime Minister Sigmundur David
Gunnlaugsson. Photo: Facebook
In December 2007, Gunnlaugsson and his wife, Anna Sigurlaug Plsdttir, purchased
Wintris Inc. from Mossack Fonseca through the Luxembourg branch of Landsbanki,
one of Icelands three big banks. The couple used the shell company to invest
millions of dollars in inherited money, according to a document signed in 2015 by
the prime ministers wife, the daughter of a wealthy Icelandic Toyota dealer, after
she was asked by Mossack Fonseca where she had gotten the money.

The Icelandic banks formed branches, for example, in Luxembourg and the UK, and
what they did there was create offshore companies for their clients to park all sorts
of assets, said Rob Jonatansson, a Reykjavik attorney who led the resolution of a
smaller bank that also collapsed, not commenting on Wintris specifically. The
offshore companies afforded the opportunity for tax evasion, which probably some

The Mossack Fonseca files dont disclose where Wintris invested its money, but
court records show that Wintris had significant investments in the bonds of each of
the three major Icelandic banks. Those records list the company as a creditor with
millions of dollars in claims in the banks bankruptcies.

Landsbankis winding-up board listed Wintris as a creditor in November 2009 with a

claim of 174 million krona apparently in Landsbanki bonds. Wintris also appeared
three times on the bank Kaupthings claims list in January 2010, holding bonds with
a face value of 221 million krona. And it held Glitnir bonds worth 114 million krona
a claim Wintris sold to an Icelandic investor after the crash, according to a person
familiar with the claim (Gunnlaugsson has criticized foreign funds buying up such
claims as vultures). In all, Wintris claimed nearly $4 million in assets in the banks
at current exchange rates and $8 million at pre-crash exchange rates. And Wintris
may have held other assets, such as stock, that dont show up in bankruptcy filings
of the banks.

Gunnlaugsson co-owned Wintris with his wife when he entered parliament in April
2009 and has continued to hide it from view as he ascended to the prime ministers
seat, according to the files obtained by ICIJ. Failing to disclose these assets violated
Icelands ethics rules. The prime minister denies that, saying only companies with
commercial activity have to be reported. But the parliaments secretary general
says all companies must be disclosed. Wintriss bonds still have considerable worth,
ranging from roughly 15 percent to 30 percent of their face value.

On the last day of 2009, Gunnlaugsson sold his half of Wintris to his wife for one
dollar, according to the Mossack Fonseca documents.

On March 15, 2016, Plsdttir wrote a Facebook post disclosing the offshore
company to the public for the first time. The presence of the company has never
been a secret, she said. Plsdttir wrote that she set up Wintris in 2007 when it
was still unclear whether the couple would be living overseas and that it is an
investment vehicle for funds she received when her familys business was sold.

The Facebook post came four days after ICIJ partners Reykjavik Media and SVT
(Swedish public television) asked the prime minister about Wintris in a videotaped
interview. In that interview, SVT asked Gunnlaugsson if he had ever owned an
offshore company.
Myself? No. Well, the Icelandic companies I have worked with had connections with
offshore companies, even the whats it called? The workers unions. So it would
have been through such arrangements, but I have always given all of my assets and
that of my family up for taxes. So there has never been any, any of me, my assets
hidden anywhere. Its an unusual question for an Icelandic politician to get. Its
almost like being accused of something, but I can confirm I have never hidden any
of my assets.

When asked what he knew about Wintris, Gunnlaugson said, Well, Its a company
if I recall correctly which is associated with one of the companies that I was on
the board of and it had an account, which as Ive mentioned, has been on the tax
account since it was established. So now Im starting to feel a bit strange about
these questions because its like you are accusing me of something when you are
asking me about a company that has been on my tax return.

Shortly thereafter, Gunnlaugsson stood up and walked out of the interview.

On March 15 2016, Plsdttir wrote a Facebook post disclosing her offshore
In Palsdottirs Facebook post four days later, she said that the assets in Wintris Inc.
were hers alone and that a banks mistake had led to Gunnlaugssons being listed
as a co-owner. When the mistake was discovered in 2009, she became sole owner
of the company, she said. The Mossack Fonseca documents show Gunnlaugsson
signed the document selling his share of Wintris to Palsdottir.

Plsdttir said that the assets came from her share of the sale of her familys
business. She said she had always paid all taxes owed on Wintris. Her tax firm,
KPMG, also said she declared income from Wintris.

As has been explained publicly, in establishing this company, the Prime Minister
and his wife have adhered to Icelandic law, including declaring all assets, securities
and income in Icelandic tax returns since 2008, a Gunnlaugsson spokesman said in
a statement.

It is unclear whether Gunnlaugssons political positions benefited or hurt the value

of the bonds. The question is really a tricky one, said rlfur Matthasson, an
economist at the University of Iceland. Nobody but the PM himself can answer that

Gunnlaugssons spokesman said, In recent years, Prime Minister Gunnlaugssons

work in politics has been characterized primarily by his determination to ensure, to
the extent possible, that the interests of the people of Iceland took priority over the
interests of the failed banks claimants. Both his words and all of his conduct
confirm this.

Political elites play offshore

The documents also raise questions about the financial activities of other Icelandic
political elites and whether they benefitted from some of the same practices of
business executives that so outraged their constituents.

I have not had any assets in tax havens or anything like that, Icelands Minister of
Finance and Economic Affairs Bjarni Benediktsson, who is also a top political ally of
Prime Minister Gunnlaugsson, said in an interview televised in February 2015.

But Benediktsson along with two Icelandic businessmen owned and shared
what is known as power of attorney over a shell company called Falson & Co.
created in 2005 by Mossack Fonseca in the Seychelles, an island chain and
notorious secrecy haven in the Indian Ocean, according to the offshore documents.
Power of attorney means the three men had the power to approve transactions by
the company.

Falson & Co. issued bearer shares, stock instruments that give ownership of an
asset to whoever has the physical share certificate. Because bearer shares arent
registered in anyones name, they provide an extra layer of secrecy and have been
outlawed in many countries because theyre widely used for fraud and tax evasion.
Falson was used as a shell company until it was removed from the company registry
in the Seychelles in 2012, according to Mossack Fonseca documents. Benediktsson
did not disclose his ownership of the company to parliament or to the public.

Asked about Falson by ICIJ and its media partner Sddeutsche Zeitung,
Benediktsson confirmed that he had owned one-third of Falson, which he said was
created to hold four apartments in a building under construction in Dubai. A holding
company is a matter of convenience so that all matters are handled by one legal
entity. The asset was sold before delivery of the apartment as the owners of Falson
& Co decided to back out in 2008 and the asset was eventually sold with a loss. My
part in owning this asset has been public information for years.

Icelands Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Bjarni Benediktsson. Photo:
Johann (CC BY 2.5DK)
The Dubai real estate was reported in 2010 by Icelandic newspaper DV after it
obtained emails about the investment.

I had no intention or need to hide ownership, Benediktsson said. I declared my

ownership of the company to the tax authorities in Iceland. Asked why he didnt
declare his stake in Falson to parliament, Benediktsson said, The (disclosure) rules
were implemented in May 2009. At the time I neither owned an active business or a
declarable real estate.

Benediktsson later provided a letter to ICIJ, however, from one of his partners in
Falson, that said the companys business was not wound up until September 2009.
Benediktsson said the company was not active after it canceled the purchase
agreement in November 2008. From that time Falson & Co. was not in control of
the property, he said. Until a new owner was found Falson & Co.s only purpose
was to wait for refunding.

As for the interview last year where he denied having assets in tax havens,
Benediktsson said, I have to admit that I was not aware of the fact that the
company was listed in the Seychelles which would qualify as a tax haven, contrary
to Luxembourg. My understanding was that it was a Luxembourg company.

Another member of the current government, lf Nordal, the interior minister, also
controlled a secret company created in the British Virgin Islands in November 2006,
according to the documents. Like Wintris and Falson, Dooley Securities SA was
purchased from Mossack Fonseca through a Luxembourg subsidiary of Landsbanki,
then the second biggest Icelandic bank. Nordal had power of attorney over Dooley
Securities with her husband, Tomas Mar Sigurdsson, now chief operating officer of
American aluminum giant Alcoas Global Primary Products unit, according to the
documents, and shares in the company were held in the name of Landsbanki
Luxembourg. In August 2007, Sigurdsson pledged Dooley Securities shares in an
agreement with Landsbanki, apparently as collateral for a loan from the bank, which
would collapse a little more than a year later.
Asked by ICIJ about Dooley Securities, Sigurdsson said Landsbanki advised him to
create the company to hold the proceeds from a potential sale of his Alcoa stock
options. This never happened, I never exercised the option and I never transferred
any funds to the company, he said, adding that he was not aware of the pledge

To be clear, neither I nor my wife, were at this time, nor at any time later, owners
of the shares in Dooley Securities, Sigurdsson said. We do not own and have
never owned any off-shore companies.

The documents further show that Hrlfur lvisson, the executive director of
Gunnlaugssons Progressive Party and a top adviser to the prime minister, is
associated with two companies in the data: Selco Finance Ltd. and Chamile
Marketing SA. In 2005, before his party chairmanship, lvisson passed control of
Selco Finance to Finnur Inglfsson, himself a former Progressive Party official who
helped lead the purchase of Kaupthing when it was privatized.

lvisson said the companies were created to market insurance and other products
in Iceland. Everything connected to me has been legal, lvisson said, adding that
the companies hadnt operated for years. I had accountants and everything
regarding that. There is no problem.

Inglfsson said Selco was purchased by an insurance company he led and that the
acquisition in no way related to tax benefits.

The Viking raiders

Iceland was a financial backwater until relatively recently. The country had no stock
market until 1985, and its stodgy major banks were owned by the state. It made big
moves to liberalize its economy in the 1990s, aiming to increase economic
efficiency by eliminating the distortions inherent in state-ownership. The
government sold its banks to the private sector in the late 1990s and early 2000s
and an influx of foreign capital spurred an epic expansion by the countrys financial
industry. By 2008, the assets of the three major banks, Kaupthing, Landsbanki, and
Glitnir had ballooned to $180 billion 11 times the size of the national economy, in
one of the greatest financial bubbles in history.

News media lauded Icelands business and financial titans as the New Viking
Raiders. The countrys economic elite snapped up billions of dollars of foreign
businesses and flew in artists like Elton John and 50 Cent for private parties.
Fishermen became investment bankers. Icelands stock market soared 800 percent
from 2001 to 2007.

Then it all fell apart over three days in October 2008.

Icelands big three banks collapsed, sending the countrys economy into a
depression. The stock market collapsed 97 percent from its peak. The value of the
Icelands currency the krona fell by half.

Iceland nationalized the big banks and defaulted on deposits from foreign investors,
causing diplomatic brawls with the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Thousands
protested in front of parliament, pelting the building with rocks and fireworks, and
eventually helping to bring down the government. Parliament indicted then-prime
minister, Geir Haarde, for negligence in office, and in a largely symbolic move, a
court convicted him of failing to inform his cabinet of major events in the crisis.

Amid the chaos, it became clear that many of Icelands top bankers had lent money
to their cronies through offshore companies and manipulated the market to make
the banks look healthier than they really were.

Bank insiders did so by lending tens of billions of krona (hundreds of millions of

dollars) to each other, the banks owners and favored associates, allowing them to
load up on shares in the Icelandic banks with no risk to themselves. This duped
investors and regulators into thinking there was real demand in the markets for
Icelandic banking shares. In some cases, insiders simply looted the banks, having
the bank lend vast sums of money to themselves and their friends to buy stock and
then having the bank buy back their shares at more than market value when the
banks ran into trouble.

Reykjavik, Iceland. Photo: Philip Ho /

Untangling the ties

Iceland, alone among Western governments, has vigorously prosecuted its top
bankers, sending at least two dozen to prison. Four of the top seven Icelandic bank
officials, as well as each of the top shareholders of the three big banks, controlled
offshore companies registered through Mossack Fonseca. But the dealings were so
complicated, thanks to the help of Mossack Fonseca and others, that wrongdoing
and reparations are still being sorted out more than seven years after the crash.
Some of it may never be uncovered.

Most definitely something is going under the radar, Olafur Hauksson, who led
Office of the Special Prosecutor created after the crash, said in an interview before
the information obtained by ICIJ and Sddeutsche Zeitung was revealed. Hauksson
was the brawny police chief of Akranes, a fishing village of 6,600, when he became
special prosecutor. He was the only Icelander who wanted the job.

Despite his successes in putting key players in jail, Hauksson said the secrecy
enabled by the offshore industry means there are things he has missed.

You see companies maybe from the Caymans or Tortola or something like that,
banks that have a subsidiary in Luxembourg but that (are) actually stationed in
Iceland, Hauksson said. This gives you a very hard time to see the whole picture
of the events. You have fractures in three places, and putting it all together is a
huge effort, and it requires that you have a cooperation in various fields and
knowledge to know what to seek.

Indebted to the banks

The documents obtained by ICIJ detail the wider role of Mossack Fonseca in a global
secrecy machine that helps the rich and the powerful hide their business dealings
and hang on to more of their money, which results in other taxpayers paying more
tax. They also shed light on the cozy ties among elites on this wet, windswept island
of 329,000 people.

Iceland is so small, and we know the person, and we know the family of the
person, says Vilhlmur Bjarnason, a member of parliament and an academic who
was one of the first to warn about the fast-and-loose practices of the countrys

The timing of some of the future Prime Ministers activities coincides with those of
companies controlled by controversial Icelandic businessmen. Wintris and two other
unrelated bearer-share companies controlled by Icelanders each opened separate
bank accounts at Credit Suisse in London on the same day in March 2008, the
documents show. The three companies each had the same nominee directors
straw men provided by Mossack Fonseca to rubber stamp decisions while obscuring
the true identities of the owners. All three companies Wintris, Jarl Universal SA
and Jade Trading Services Ltd were purchased and administered through the
Luxembourg subsidiary of Landsbanki. Jade Trading and Jarl Universal are not run-of-
the-mill companies. They were controlled or associated with powerful Landsbanki
players who have been investigated though not charged in the market-
manipulation scandals that roiled Iceland. Jade Trading Services was controlled from
2004 to November 2007 by Landsbanki chairman Bjrglfur Gumundsson and
Andri Sveinsson, who works for Gumundssons son, Bjrglfur Thor Bjrglfsson,
the richest man in Iceland. In January 2008, Jade Trading issued power of attorney to
Sigurdur Bollason, an Icelandic investor who used other companies to secure $144
million in collateral-free loans from Landsbanki, Kaupthing, and Glitnir during the
summer of 2008 to buy shares in the two banks. Bollason was later named as a co-
defendant in a class action suit and was a target of raids by Haukssons Office of the
Special Prosecutor in Luxembourg regarding the market-manipulation scandal.
Bollason has not been charged. Jarl Universal, meanwhile, was also controlled by
Bollason and linked with other companies he controlled, including one that sent a
$622,000 dividend to the Landsbanki Luxembourg account of another of his shell
companies four days before Landsbanki was seized by the government. Even with
the information revealed by the Mossack Fonseca files, its still unclear exactly what
was going on with these companies. While the Panamanian law firm is a key link in
the chain of secrecy used in the Icelandic banking schemes, its only one link.
Getting the full picture would require a look inside the banks, investment advisers
and other law firms connected to the shell companies. Some of the cases have
been so complex you actually dont get through to see whats actually in there,
says Hauksson, the special prosecutor. Who is the real person behind this? And
that is going to be the battle between the investigators and the ones that want to
have the money hidden. Icelands tax authority did end up purchasing from
whistleblowers a small portion of the documents relating to Mossack Fonseca in the
hope of finding tax evaders and recovering lost revenue. The documents purchased
include information about Wintris, the shell company now owned solely by
Gunnlaugssons wife. To date, authorities have said nothing publicly about what
theyve learned.

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U.S. states Nevada, Wyoming and Delaware are facing growing pressure to address
their lack of corporate transparency, as the United States and the international
community continue to respond to fallout from the Panama Papers. At a London
anti-corruption summit on Thursday, representatives from the Cayman Islands,
Bermuda and the Isle of Man warned that the hypocrisy of the U.S. was hurting
the global push for greater financial transparency. The summit, hosted by British
Prime Minister David Cameron and attended by leaders and high-ranking officials
from around the world, has drawn increased public attention after the Panama
Papers investigation by ICIJ, German newspaper Sddeutsche Zeitung and more
than 100 media partners revealed new details about how the worlds rich and
powerful use and sometimes abuse secrecy jurisdictions and tax havens. U.S.
Secretary of State John Kerry compared the threat posed by corruption to the threat
posed by terrorism, and urged attendees to work together in the fight for
transparency. Corruption, writ large, is as much of an enemy, because it destroys
nation states, as some of the extremists we are fighting or the other challenges we
face, he said. But the U.S. came under fire from some of the smaller jurisdictions at
the conference for not doing enough to combat financial opacity at home. Cayman
Islands premier Alden McLaughlin warned that if the U.S. and other larger
jurisdictions didnt comply with stricter rules being imposed on the rest of the world,
then all the shady business is going to migrate to Delaware, Wyoming, Panama,
you name it. It is time to put behind us the shades of hypocrisy that have been
part and parcel of global discussion of this issue for years and years. So long as
countries with real commitments on the world stage continue to focus on
jurisdictions that are smaller in size while ignoring the larger jurisdictions, the
results will be continued failure, he said. The U.S. states of Wyoming and Nevada
both came under closer scrutiny from within the United Statesearlier in the week,
when Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon and ranking member of the Senate
Finance Committee, sent a letter to the secretaries of state for the two states,
demanding more information about how the companies revealed in the Panama
Papers are regulated. I have become increasingly concerned about the use of
anonymous shell companies as vehicles for terrorists financing, tax evasion, and
fraud targeting major government programs, Wyden wrote. The senators letters
were one of a number of responses from global authorities and governments
following the publication of Panama Papers data and continued investigation from
ICIJs partners: The UK, Nigeria, Kenya, France, the Netherlands and Afghanistan
have agreed to set up central registers of beneficial ownership of companies that
would be open to the public to search. UK Prime Minister David Cameron introduced
a new corporate money-laundering offence aimed at forcing companies to take
more responsibility for employees actions. The government of Japan will propose an
action plan for combating graft at the next Group of Seven economic summit later
in May. Wealthy international investors may start to sell off their luxury London
homes after new anti-corruption rules are introduced, a leading real estate agent
warned. Panama gave in to international pressure and joined about 100 countries in
an agreement to share financial information automatically to tackle tax evasion,
according to the OECD. Pakistans government has been asked by the countrys
Supreme Court to legislate a special lawto empower a commission of inquiry to look
into the Panama Papers revelations. Mexico has widened a tax evasion probe by
requiring banks to hand over names of local clients with transactions in tax havens.
Indonesias tax office announced that it would launch an investigation into 272
Indonesians whose names are mentioned in the Panama Papers. A group of leading
economists and influential advisors to policymakers signed an open letter to world
leaders asserting that tax havens serve no useful purpose and calling for new
global cooperation to increase financial transparency. Canadian investigators
are analyzing the files and have committed to lay criminal charges should any
wrongdoing be found. Sri Lanka has set up a panel to probe its nationals mentioned
in the Panama Papers, as part of a broader bid to clean up corruption in the country.
Vietnams tax authority has formed an inspection team to look into the Vietnamese
names and companies revealed in the Panama Papers data, and is also renewing
focus on policing transfer pricing and tax avoidance by corporations. Iceland
president lafur Ragnar Grmsson announced he would withdraw from his re-
election campaign, after it was revealed that his wifes family had significant
offshore holdings. More prominent public figures have been linked to companies
mentioned in the Panama Papers, including Australias current prime
minister, Malcolm Turnbull, Guatemalan politician Harold Caballeros, and British film
star Emma Watson.