The secret records obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) lay bare an extraordinary range of people using offshore hideaways.
They include US dentists and middle-class Greek villagers as well as families of despots, Wall Street swindlers, eastern European and Indonesian billionaires, Russian executives, international arms dealers and a firm alleged a front for Iran’s nuclear-development programme.
The leaks illustrate how offshore financial secrecy has spread around the globe. The records detail offshore holdings in more than 170 territories; this represents the biggest stockpile of inside information about the offshore system ever obtained by a media organisation.To analyse it, ICIJ collaborated with reporters from the Guardian and the BBC in the UK, Le Monde in France, Suddeutsche Zeitung and Norddeutscher Rundfunk in Germany, The Washington Post, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and 31 other international media partners.
Eighty-six journalists from 46 countries used hi-tech data crunching and traditional reporting to filter emails and account ledgers over 30 years.
Offshore’s defenders say most users are legitimate. Offshore centres, they say, allow people to diversify investments, create international ventures and do business in entrepreneur-friendly zones without red tape.
Guardian News Service