Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
I saw this report on Deutche Welle (German Journal) on PBS worldchannel.org, but it has yet to be reported widely in the U.S. corporate mainstream media. 'Offshore Leaks' list puts focus on prominent figures worldwide 04.04.2013:
Government reactions have been cautious after international media published a list of alleged tax evaders. Though the world gets a glimpse of the finances of the wealthiest, it remains unclear who broke the law.
The last note on the list of alleged tax dodgers published by the British daily The Guardian on Thursday reiterated that having an offshore account was not a crime. [Leaks reveal secrets of the rich who hide cash offshore - The Guardian]
"It is not suggested that any of those listed here have behaved unlawfully," the newspaper wrote, referring to the international figures it had named in its "profiles of leading secret account holders."
"Offshore entities can be held legitimately: The only aspect those listed below have in common is that they have used a jurisdiction which provides them with secrecy."
The people listed included politicians, businessmen and their spouses.
The Guardian released the information - known as "Offshore Leaks" - in cooperation with media outlets from 46 countries participating in the international project. The BBC, Washington Post* and Le Monde published similar stories on Thursday, as did Germany's daily Süddeutsche Zeitung and its regional public broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk.
Journalists across media outlets reportedly spent months examining data leaked from two companies that specialize in setting up offshore accounts and was handed over to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in Washington, D.C. by an anonymous source last year.
The 260 gigabytes of data included around 2.5 million documents, containing the names of 130,000 alleged tax cheats from around 170 countries.
* * *
The European Commission called on EU countries to tighten financial regulations following the news of alleged widespread tax dodging. Germany's Federal Finance Ministry appeared to eager to benefit from the "Offshore Leaks" report.
A Finance Ministry spokesperson reportedly said he hoped that "the media with access to the information would provide it to the states," including to Germany, according to the news agency AFP.
Amid reports that banks, including Germany's largest bank Deutsche Bank, had helped its customers hide their money in offshore entities, the president of the Association of German Banks called for a reasonable assessment of the situation.
"Private citizens and organizations are primarily the ones who put their money into offshore accounts," association president Andreas Schmidt said, according to the news agency DPA. Because financial institutions were not authorized to screen customers for tax evasion, said Schmidt, "it isn't right to severely criticize the banks."
* Read the Washington Post report Tax haven data leak names names, raises questions about future of offshore bank accounts (copywrited AP article). The Post's WorldViews blog reports, Offshore world: 2.5 million leaked files reveal stunning extent of global tax havens:
A long-term analysis of more than 2.5 million leaked e-mails and financial documents, conducted by several news organizations, has shed some rare light on the secretive network of tax havens and offshore accounts where a number of the world’s elite park their fortunes.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists culled through 260 gigabytes of data — more than 2.5 million files, most of them e-mails — to produce the new report. The leaked data, originally stored on a single computer hard drive, “arrived in the mail” after the ICIJ published an expose on Australia’s Firepower scandal, but the group doesn’t specify where (or whom) it came from.
The data is still pretty dense, despite ICIJ’s mind-boggling analysis. That’s a product of the immensity of the offshore system. This data set alone included information on 122,000 offshore trusts in 10 tax havens, including the British Virgin Islands, home to 40 percent of the world’s offshore accounts and shell companies. And while the analysis may not nail down how these quasi-legal financial channels are structured and run, it does hint at how prevalent offshore accounts have become, especially among the upper crust.
You can read the full ICIJ report here.
Crooksandliars.com has more Leaks Reveal Secrets of World’s Wealthy.
UPDATE: The New York Times weighs in Data Leak Reveals Big Secret Trove of Global Wealth.
UPDATE: Think Progress adds Tax Dodging By Corporations And The Wealthy Cost Each Taxpayer $1,026 In 2012.