Monday, January 8, 2018

Panama Papers: Over $ 500 million recovered by tax authorities worldwide

Sidi Sanneh 
More than $ 500 million has been recouped by tax authorities worldwide after the Panama Papers revelations, first published in April 2016, according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

Spain alone has collected $ 122 million after investigation into the affairs of those who have been stashing money offshore.   

Among the countries represented in the Panama Papers data, a total of 15 – on three continents - have publicly commented on the amount of taxes recovered by tax authorities.  

Of equal importance is the tax authorities have been able to identify, in many instances, the sources of the proceeds deposited in these accounts.

This number, according to ICIJ, could keep growing with several countries still conducting audits on the basis of the Panama Papers information.  In Canada, 123 audits are underway and several criminal investigations are ongoing, according to the Canadian Revenue Agency.  South Korea also reported having recouped $ 1.2 billion in taxes this year, although it is not clear what percentage is directly connected to the Panama Papers.

Last July, the German federal police agency announced it had bought the Panama Papers data.   The agency conducted raids and has so far frozen two million euros.  Danish tax authorities also acquired portion of the Panama Papers data and are investigating 320 companies and 500 to 600 individual linked through the data to Denmark.

Arrests related to the Panama Papers are taking place in Panama as part of investigations into Brazil’s largest ever bribery scandal known as Lava Jota.   

Meanwhile, ICIJ’s partners continue to explore the Panama Papers data for new leads.  In Bolivia, ICIJ partners unveiled last October the use of Panamanian company by American businessman Jacob Ostreicher to do business in Bolivia.  Ostreicher was arrested in 2011 on suspicion of money laundering.   His business partner was subsequently jailed while he fled Bolivia, according to ICIJ, thanks to the help of the American actor Sean Penn, who helped get him transferred from prison to house arrest, which he then left behind.

One of the most remarkable development s of the Panama Papers in 2017 unfolded in Pakistan last July when the Supreme Court, in an unanimous vote, removed the prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, from office.    
With the exception of few details, the entire blog post is based on the reporting of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.