Panama Papers: The Lies of The Rich and The Importance of Journalism

Joseph Beaird, Staff Writer

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The Panama Papers: The light has been shined down upon on the deceitful crimes of the 1% of the world. Through a massive leak of data, revelations of money laundering have been discovered in the billions. Because of improper use of money and disloyal payment of taxes, this tax evasion scandal may cause harmful repercussions to the global economy.

The company at the heart of the data exposure is Mossack Fonseca, an offshore tax trading company located in Panama, the country lending its name to the scandal. The leak has revealed the tactic of some of the world’s wealthiest citizens to avoid paying taxes.

This is accomplished by trading their tax money to Mossack Fonseca and later taking it back. The process has barely been noticed because the government searches for their tax money, sees that it has been given to shell companies like Fonseca and assume that it has been paid.

The Panama Papers is the largest data breach in history. The entirety of the five million emails, two million PDFs, one million images and more than 320,000 text files makes up over 2.6 terabytes of data. To put that into perspective, that would be the same data capability of over 150 16-gigabyte iPhones.

The recent massive data leak of the Panama Papers has caused a substantial uproar in countries all across the world. The files involved have ties to many influential leaders, such as Russian President Vladimir Putin.To make situations worse, Vladimir Putin has since denied such accusations and declared it as an attempt to ruin his public image. It is hard to believe such claims when the money and transactions all point to Putin.

Seeing that the wealthy can get out of paying taxes, the general public has been in outrage. The people of Iceland demanded that their Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson resign after finding out about his connections to the Panama Papers. Many people have been linked to tax fraud from the Panama Papers, but there have been no ties to Americans yet.

It may be likely that further evidence may come out saying otherwise. Even if there are no Americans connected to tax evasion through Mossack Fonseca, many U.S. natives are afraid that there could more companies conducting similar operations. If that is the case, it would mean lower, and middle-class citizens have been paying too much for federal taxes to make up for the money lost from the wealthy.

No one knows the source of the document leak. With similar data breaches in the past, the perpetrator has always come forward or quickly been discovered.. Edward Snowden gained notoriety for his responsibility for the NSA leaks. WikiLeaks were revealed by Bradley Manning.

However, many people still question how the documents were leaked. A German newspaper by the name of Süddeutsche Zeitung received the files from an anonymous source. From there, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists stepped in and combed through the data.

The ICIJ underwent an operation that consisted of over a year of searching through the data. The investigative team consisted of over 100 journalists from around the world. As an attempt to keep the identity of the source of the leak unknown, the ICIJ has been quite successful.

When someone thinks of the Panama Papers, they usually immediately think of the downside of lies, deceit, and money laundering. However, an inspiring story can be taken away from it. Without the study of Journalism, justice would have never been brought to these tax crimes.

Journalists have the power to unite people under one cause for justice. Because of the efforts of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the world has been made aware of these crimes. Through our awareness and cooperation, countries around the world can take steps to prevent such lawlessness from happening again. Thanks to journalism, we can express our freedom of speech for the good of many.

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