While many Americans are listed in the Panama Papers and provide evidence of decades of money laundering, it seems that the leak of these documents are having their effect across the world. Already, we have seen the resignation of the Prime Minister of Iceland, but he is not the only one that the leaked documents are affecting.
USA Today reports:
After leaked files showed the premier’s wife owned an offshore firm with big claims on Iceland’s collapsed banks, the deputy head of his party said on Tuesday Iceland Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson will step down.
Iceland’s prime minister became the first high-profile casualty over the leaked Panama Papers, stepping aside Tuesday following the disclosure of offshore assets that he and his wife held.
Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, 41, suggested that his Progressive Party’s vice chairman serve as prime minister for “an unspecified amount of time,” and Gunnlaugsson will continue to be party leader, a government statement said.
Earlier in the day, Agriculture Minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson told Icelandic broadcaster RUV that Gunnlaugsson was stepping down, the Associated Press reported. But the statement issued by government press secretary Sigurdur Mar Jonsson said Gunnlaugsson had not resigned. Iceland’s president has not yet confirmed any leadership changes.
Jonas Haukdal, a Reykjavík ice-cream maker, had an idea of making a special ice cream in response to the news and described it as “sour, with a strong dose of arrogance and laced with lousy excuses.”
“We thought we were over all that, you know?” said Haukdal. “We thought the scandals were behind us, that we knew what was ethical again. And then we find our prime minister has money offshore, and kept it quiet … It was like a betrayal and an embarrassment.”
Iceland is not the only place that outrage is taking place. The New York Times reports:
In Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron faced calls for a government inquiry and accusations of bald hypocrisy by championing financial transparency — when the leaks showed that his family held undisclosed wealth in tax havens offshore.
In Pakistan, where roughly 20 percent of the population live on less than $1.25 a day, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif angrily rebuffed opposition calls to resign, defended his riches as legally acquired, and demanded that his opponents back up their allegations of wrongdoing. His daughter said on Twitter to critics: “prove or apologize.”
Officials in France, Germany, Austria and South Korea said they were beginning investigations into possible malfeasance, from money laundering to tax evasion. France’s finance minister, Michel Sapin, told Parliament the government was putting Panama back on a blacklist of havens for tax evaders.
China and Russia were not exempt either. A brother-in-law of President Xi Jinping was implicated, as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Panama Papers is the biggest data leak in history. They contain 11.5 million documents leaked from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. The 2.6 terabytes of data show billions of dollars’ worth of transactions dating back 40 years that were acquired from an anonymous source by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and then shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
However, the documents are also important when it comes to Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton. While her opponent Bernie Sanders took to the Senate floor to blast Panama as a tax haven and the Panama free trade agreement as making things worse than they are, in his opinion, Clinton ignored the issue and went another route.
As Jake Anderson points out at The Washington Standard, Clinton,
Beyond just exposing her unwillingness to understand how modern free trade agreements benefit the rich and punish impoverished countries, Clinton may have a more nefarious connection to the Panama Papers.
In lobbying for the Panama-United States Trade Promotion Agreement, Clinton paved the way for major banks and corporations, most notably the Deutsche Bank, to skirt national laws and regulations. After she resigned as Secretary of State, the Deutsche Bank paid her $485,000 for a speech. While criminality can’t yet be definitively established, this may change when the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” publishes its comprehensive list at the end of the month. In addition to the aforementioned connection, Clinton’s name has already surfaced in connection to a billionaire and a Russian-controlled bank named in the files.
As if all this weren’t enough, at the height of the Panama Papers publicity, a fire broke out in the basement of the IRS headquarters, leading to a full closure of the headquarters for over a week. But let’s not be concerned with that, right? After all Barack Hussein Obama Soetoro Sobarkah has told us this is really Congress’ fault.
The problem is the criminals in power. They need to simply be brought to justice. Sadly, at least here in America, the criminals mock and laugh at justice, while those they serve are treated in a far different manner.