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The Panama Papers

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Postby coach on 06 Apr 2016 11:18

Re: The Panama Papers

One of my Facebook friends pointed out that this information has only been released to the Western press so far, so the only politicians outed have been non-Western (except for Iceland). It will be interesting to see what happens when journalists from other parts of the world get hold of the information.
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Postby coach on 06 Apr 2016 11:20

Re: The Panama Papers

TechJunkie wrote:Coach wanted to know what impact this would have. Well, one world leader has already fallen from this. And lots of others are in cover-your-ass mode.

Well, this is cute and all, but if rules are not changed and another just like him takes his place, then really the only impact will be on his life and close relations.
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Postby norah on 06 Apr 2016 11:24

Re: The Panama Papers

coach wrote:
TechJunkie wrote:Coach wanted to know what impact this would have. Well, one world leader has already fallen from this. And lots of others are in cover-your-ass mode.

Well, this is cute and all, but if rules are not changed and another just like him takes his place, then really the only impact will be on his life and close relations.



It depends on the country obviously.
I've been reading the Peruvian press because they are having an upcoming election this Sunday and two of the candidates are involved in that Panama Papers situation. Will it change the election? Highly unlikely but people and the media are well aware of it in Peru.
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Postby TechJunkie on 06 Apr 2016 11:36

Re: The Panama Papers

coach wrote:One of my Facebook friends pointed out that this information has only been released to the Western press so far, so the only politicians outed have been non-Western (except for Iceland). It will be interesting to see what happens when journalists from other parts of the world get hold of the information.


China and Russia are both actively censoring the information.
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Postby pod on 06 Apr 2016 11:53

Re: The Panama Papers

If you look who backs the ICIJ, some have suggested that their backers are shielding some of the US names involved, too.

Conspiracy? Sure.
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Postby TechJunkie on 06 Apr 2016 12:24

Re: The Panama Papers

Panama Papers: How German Biz May Have Empowered Venezuela to Forge Passports for Hezbollah

The massive legal firm data leak known as the Panama Papers have exposed business dealings that allowed the government of Venezuela under Hugo Chávez to use Cuban money to purchase advanced passport technology from Germany. Venezuela would later be accused of falsifying passports for Hezbollah terrorists.

The revelation surfaced as part of the 11.5 million documents leaked to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, later handed over for aid in analysis to a number of journalistic outlets, most prominently the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The ICIJ has set up a website to help parse the information in these documents, and one website specifically for the revelations surfacing on the government of Venezuela.

It is there that the ICIJ has revealed in a Spanish-language report that Mossack Fonseca helped the governments of Cuba and Venezuela establish a shell corporation to engage a German technology company to buy state-of-the-art passport printing technology.

According to the report, late dictator Hugo Chávez established a project in 2005 to update the Venezuelan passport system, which would first require identifying a seller of the appropriate technology to approach. Venezuela, then as now, enjoying patronage from the government in Havana, would use Cuban money to buy the new technology. This made the purchase much more difficult, as few respectable corporations would feel comfortable doing business with the communist dictatorship.

Venezuela found a vendor: the German company Bundesdrukerei. In an email surfacing as part of the Panama Papers, a representative of that corporation makes clear: “the fundamental reason why this company does not want to sell to Cuba and Venezuela directly is because of the reputational issue. They fear their competition will create adversarial propaganda against them for selling to totalitarian governments.”

Mossack Fonseca then stepped in to design an elaborate currency exchange system to disassociate Cuba with the funding, a system known in Latin America as a “financial bicycle,” because the money is peddled through so many different currencies as to render its origins barely recognizable. Many corporations use this system to generate income, switching into cheaper currencies with higher interest rates and waiting for the money to grow before returning the money to its original form. In this case, Mossack Fonseca cycled the money through the currencies of at least four countries in addition to Cuba and Venezuela, then put the money in a shell corporation: Billingsley Global Corp. Billingsley bought the technology after receiving an influx of 64 million euros.

Venezuela got its passports, and Cuba retained the right to access and control the software that creates the passports.

more...
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Postby Kamen on 06 Apr 2016 12:30

Re: The Panama Papers

pod wrote:If you look who backs the ICIJ, some have suggested that their backers are shielding some of the US names involved, too.

Conspiracy? Sure.

The big question is why hasn't there been a data dump of all the info on the web?

Looks like old media is hoarding the info in an attempt to goose falling ratings and readership.

The big US stories will come out closer to the elections.

I wonder if someone is using The Panama Papers and the Abu Dhabi scandal to drive world markets down? Always follow the money.
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Postby pod on 06 Apr 2016 12:35

Re: The Panama Papers

Good point. The last big leak (Snowden), he put it up via Wikileaks and so forth, and the data spread on it's own, skipping over the MSM. The Panama Papers, while telling, is being structured in "stages" for those who don't have the time or wherewithal to search the leak by themselves.
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Postby TechJunkie on 06 Apr 2016 12:36

Re: The Panama Papers

Kamen wrote:The big question is why hasn't there been a data dump of all the info on the web?


It's two and a half terabytes, so have fun with this torrent:

https://archive.org/download/OffshoreLe ... ve.torrent
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Postby TechJunkie on 06 Apr 2016 12:40

Re: The Panama Papers

Never mind, that's an index. Conspiracy!

Found this while I was looking though, so maybe it won't be on the Pirate Bay any time soon. Conspiracy!

PANAMA PAPERS ENDANGER ANONYMITY OF ‘PIRATE’ SITES

Described as one of the largest leaks in history, the Panama Papers reveal where some of the wealthiest people in the world hide their fortunes. However, offshore companies are also widely used for anonymity, as the listing of two Megaupload defendants reveals. This could spell trouble for quite a few file-sharing sites and services that hide behind offshore companies.

megaupload-logoThis weekend an unprecedented database of over 11 million files leaked from Mossack Fonseca, the world’s largest offshore law firm.

The database was initially leaked to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung by an anonymous source. The newspaper then shared it which the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), who involved hundreds of journalists around the world.

The reporting thus far has mainly focused on how some of the wealthiest people in the world used offshore companies to launder money and avoid tax. However, Mossack Fonseca is also frequently used as a privacy tool.

This explains why the names of two former Megaupload employees appear in the Panama Papers. As reported by Trouw, early 2010 Dutch programmer Bram Van der Kolk and Slovak designer Julius Bencko started a an offshore company with help from Mossack Fonseca.

Van der Kolk and Bencko are both wanted by the U.S. Government for their involvement with Megaupload. However, their British Virgin Islands-based company “Easy Focus Technology Limited” had nothing to do with the defunct file-sharing service.

In fact, Van der Kolk says that the reason to use an offshore company was to remain anonymous and hide their ties to Megaupload.

“The British Virgin Islands are for companies what Mega is for files: privacy, at least as long as the information does not leak from the trust office!” Van der Kolk says.

The pair didn’t want Megaupload boss Kim Dotcom to know about their side-project, as he might have objected to it. Nothing more than that.

“Not so much because our project was competing with Megaupload or that we could thus spend less time on Megaupload. More because Kim would never allow it in principle, and it would lead directly to an unnecessary escalation.”

This anonymity aspect is also crucial for a lot of names that appear in the Panama Papers. For example, many “pirate” sites use offshore companies to keep the owners out of the public view. This may help to avoid legal issues, for example.

This is believed to be one of the main reasons why several torrent sites, pirate streaming services and file-hosting companies are located in the British Virgin Islands, Cyprus, Jersey, Panama and the Seychelles.

The Pirate Bay’s “parent company” Reservella, for example, is reportedly incorporated in the Seychelles. In fact, during a lawsuit in the Netherlands anti-piracy group BREIN showed evidence (pdf) listing Mossack Fonseca as Reservella’s registered agent.

Interestingly, Mossack Fonseca denied that they had anything to do with the company (pdf), suggesting that the report BREIN produced may have been fabricated.

TorrentFreak spoke with several Pirate Bay insiders who confirm that Reservella should not appear in the Panama Papers, nor do they expect any other TPB-info to turn up from the leaked documents.

Still, the privacy element will certainly have several other “pirate” sites worried that their owners may be exposed in the future. Thus far no public directory of names and companies have been released, but if that happens there is bound to be more panic.

Update: Kim Dotcom informed TorrentFreak that the project of his former colleagues was actively competing with Megaupload, using Megaupload’s source code.

“Bram breached his shareholder and employment agreement and used Megaupload’s source code to start a competing file hoster,” Dotcom says.

“It was a clone of Megaupload with a twist. Bram’s site would re-upload files that were sent to his service to other file hosting sites, including Megaupload and provide his users with over a dozen links to the same file.”
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