Unusually for the WSJ, this interview with Jürgen Mossack, co-head of Mossack Fonseca, isn’t behind the paywall. Someone (Mossack?) wants the word to get out as widely as possible. Says the WSJ:
In his first in-depth interview since reports of the leaked documents were published, Jürgen Mossack said his firm did nothing wrong by selling some 240,000 shell companies registered in low- or no-tax territories around the world. #panamapapers: Questioning the Picture Painted in the WSJ’s Interview With Jürgen Mossack
What the Panama Papers Tell Us Global Guerrillas
Yet while the United States demands that financial institutions in other countries share information about Americans with accounts abroad, its reciprocation efforts fall short, critics say.
“You see a ton of wealth in tax havens in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands that is owned by shell companies that are incorporated in Panama or in Delaware,” he said. “The bulk of this wealth does not seem to be duly declared on tax returns.”
A recent report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy called “Delaware: An Onshore Tax Haven” noted that the state’s lack of transparency combined with an enticing loophole in its tax code “makes it a magnet for people looking to create anonymous shell companies, which individuals and corporations can use to evade an inestimable amount in federal and foreign taxes.”
There are a vast number of news articles on the report and its ramifications. The scope of the Panama Papers is so large that I expect that many more articles will appear for some time into the future. I cannot read them all. I can read selectively and pass on to the blog's readers the ones I think useful. But my sampling is necessarily anecdotal. With that caveat, I excerpt key portions from the NYT article:
The firm, Mossack Fonseca, was built on assurances of bulletproof privacy for its clients. But its operations were laid bare this week by a vast leak of millions of documents that have helped expose the proliferation of shell companies and tax havens for the world’s wealthiest people.
Among the leaked documents was an email exchange obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, in which the firm’s top partners realized they had worked for years with clients from Iran who had been listed on a sanctions list published by the United States government and the United Nations.
“This is dangerous!” Mr. Mossack wrote in an email to Mr. Fonseca and others at the firm. “A red flag should have been raised immediately.”
Mr. Mossack placed blame for the oversight on employees in the law firm’s London office who were “not doing their due diligence thoroughly, (or maybe none at all).”
Speaking of London, David Cameron’s EU intervention on trusts set up tax loophole Financial Times. Li: “David Cameron, hypocrite.”
David Cameron admits he profited from father's Panama offshore trust fund
'Frankly and morally wrong': David Cameron's past attacks on tax evasion
David Cameron has disastrously mishandled the crisis over his tax affairs
David Cameron's EU intervention on trusts set up tax loophole
Former HSBC boss tried to avoid tax on £8m Kensington house
Now HSBC executives facing calls to resign: Pressure growns over Panama Papers
HSBC, Coutts & Rothschild: British banks help the 1% evade
Mossack Fonseca's role in fight over painting stolen by Nazis (8 Apr 2016)