Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Saga of the "Panama Papers" Has Only Just Begun!

Well the world has been abuzz as a result of the leaked information from Panamanian Law Firm Mossack Fonseca in April of this year.

It appears, at least to me, that hopefully the original informant “John Doe” has cut some type of deal for immunity, with the various interested countries around the world.

The basis for my conclusion is based upon the following timeline of events from the time that the leak was revealed, until yesterday's release of leaked information by the ICIJ: 
·         On April 4, 2016, we posted Huge Leak From the Panamanian Law Firm Mossack Fonseca! where we discussed that the offshore planning world was set on fire this weekend with the news that 11 million documents were leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

·        On April 18, 2016 we posted Have An Un-Reported Account Associated With Mossack Fonseca? Like Your Freedom? Call Us!  where we discussed that U.S. federal agents and prosecutors told NBC News earlier that they had begun to mobilize in an effort to obtain and use the Panama Papers to bolster Existing Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions and to Launch New One.

o    Now The Guardian reports that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has “led several crusades against criminal wrongdoing in the financial sector, is already investigating several of the more than 200 US citizens named in the papers.”

o   The ICIJ received an email, published by the Guardian, from U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for the Southern District of New York indicating that his office had “opened a criminal investigation regarding matters to which the Panama papers are relevant.
·         On April 26, 2016 The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists announced that it will release on May 9 a searchable database with information on more than 200,000 offshore entities that are part of the Panama Papers investigation.

o   ICIJ says it will not release clients' personal data en masse, and the data published in the searchable database will not include records of bank accounts and financial transactions, correspondence, passports or telephone numbers.

o   Nor will unpublished data be passed to national tax authorities or prosecutors, says ICIJ. Its director Gerard Ryle claims the organization is a 'media organization shielded by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and other legal protections from becoming an arm of law enforcement'. It has already used the First Amendment argument to resist demands from the US Attorney's office, however this argument may not hold against other jurisdictions that seek disclosure orders against ICIJ.

·       On May 6, 2016 According to New York Times the anonymous source that leaked Mossack Fonseca's client documents to the newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung has offered to cooperate with law enforcement agencies 'in prosecutions related to offshore money laundering and tax evasion' if they are assured personal immunity.

·         Also on May 6, 2016 the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists announced that the unknown source behind a leak of 11.5 million financial and legal documents regarding shell companies from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca has offered to provide the same documents to governments that he gave to a team of reporters. 

o   The offer of cooperation came in the form of an 1,800 word manifesto blasting lawyers, tax evasion, weak lawmakers and income inequality. In it, the leaker, “John Doe” whose identity is said to remain unknown even to the journalists he communicates with, said he is worried about weak protections for whistleblowers, and called on Congress and other global lawmakers to make it easier for people like him to get immunity.

“Thousands of prosecutions could stem from the Panama Papers, if only law enforcement could access and evaluate the actual documents,” the statement said.
 “ICIJ and its partner publications have rightly stated that they will not provide them to law enforcement agencies.
I, however, would be willing to cooperate with law enforcement to the extent that I am able.”
Although thousands of news stories have been published since early April, the actual document cache has been off-limits to tax authorities until yesterday. The ICIJ released a searchable database of the names of 214,000 companies created by Mossack Fonseca and people tied to them on May 9, 2016 but it has said it won’t cooperate with investigators, who have only had access to the documents that the journalists have made public. The source’s statement could change that.

The database published on May 9, 2016, is only a "fraction"of the total dump of files, according to the ICIJ.
The release comes at a fortuitous time for regulators, as the DOJ has doubled the number of prosecutors in its FCPA unit, the FBI has organized three squads of agents to target foreign corruption and the IRS Has Added 600-700 Enforcement Agents To Catch "International Tax Cheats".
Do You Have Undeclared Income 
From A Foreign Entity
Formed By Mossack Fonseca ?

Do You Have Undeclared Accounts
With Any of the Following Foreign Banks?
Want to Know if the OVDP Program is Right for You?

Contact the Tax Lawyers at 
Marini& Associates, P.A.  
for a FREE Tax Consultation

Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888) 882-9243

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