The Panama Papers

Panma Papers Bok Image


1. Choose one story that has been revealed from around the world relating to assets being moved through or placed in an offshore tax haven. Detail the events that has allowed this licit or illicit movement of money through the tax haven. Three distinct phases of this process are 1) placement 2) layering and 3) integration.

2. Determine, if there are any, what the larger implications of the movement of these assets are. The best of these implications will be ones that are supported by the words and analyses of others. However, novel analyses of these implications can be provided as long as there is some rational basis for making them (i.e. you can't just wildly make up what the consequences are). Try to establish a cause and effect relationship as well as you can.

3. Use MLA parenthetical citation to support your discussion of the process of the movement of the assets and/or the implications of the assets being moved to these offshore tax havens

4. In the conclusion you can touch on one or all of the following questions:

a) are tax havens justified in their claims that they provide a useful service by ensuring "tax competition" and therefore hold down the percentage of revenues/income being taxed by overzealous states?

b) In the new tax bill passed by Congress, the corporate tax rate is reduced from 35% to 21% in the belief that this lower rate rate will incentivize American companies to not park revenues offshore and subsequently repatriate this money into the American economy where it can create opportunities for American citizens through direct investment. Given what you have learned about the tax haven industry do you think that this reduction in tax will incentivize American companies to do this?

c) what evidence is there to support the idea that the establishment of either/both an automatic global exchange of information about bank accounts and/or globally transparent register of companies is possible?

d) if average Americans could take measures to avoid paying taxes by moving funds to offshore accouts, do you think they would do so or would the principle of fairness stop them?

Study Questions

Study Questions #1

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Study Questions #4

PDF of Panama Papers book

panama papers cartoon

panama papers cartoon 2

ICIJ [International Consortium of Investigative Journalists]

Offshore Leaks Database

OCCRP [Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project]

Additional Materials

"Panama Papers: The Secrets of Dirty Money" (all articles from Süddeutsche Zeitung)

"What Are the Panama Papers? A Guide to History's Biggest Data Leak" from The Guardian

"Panama Papers Show How Rich United States Clients Hid Millions Abroad" by Eric Lipton and Julie Cresswell of The New York Times

"Panama Papers: The Real Scandal is What's Legal" by Brooke Harrington for The Atlantic

Undercover in New York [video]

The New Tax Havens [60 Minutes video]

List of Tax Havens

Tax Havens [Wikipedia]

Ethical Consumer's list of Tax Havens

World's Worst Corporate Tax Havens Exposed — Dangerous Race to the Bottom on Corporate Tax [Oxfam International]

Here's How Much Tax Cheats Cost the Government a Year by Chris Matthews (April 29, 2016) in Fortune

Shell Companies Hide $15 Trillion From Taxes, Study Reports by Lisette Voytko in Forbes (Sep. 9, 2019)

Luxembourg Leaks and Paradise Papers

Luxembourg Leaks [Wikipedia]

Paradise Papers [Wikipedia]

Daphne Caruana Galizia

Daphne Caruana Galizia's Last Words Adorn Main monuments Three Months After Murder by Kurt Sansone for Malta Today

Ten Arrested over Murder of maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in The Guardian

Three Charged in Malta with Murder of Panama Papers Journalist by Stephanie Kirchgaessner in The Guardian

Secrets of the Malta Journalist's Murder Revealed by Barbie Latza Nadeau for The Daily Beast

Lyudmilla Putina

Lyudmila Putina [Wikipedia]

Putin's Ex-wife Linked to Multi-Million Dollar Property Business by Svetlana Reiter for Reuter's

Vladimir Putin's Ex-Wife Lyudmilla and New Husband Have $7 Million French Villa by Christopher Brennan for New York Daily News

Arguments for the Benefit of Offshore Tax Havens

"Why Tax Havens are a Blessing" by Daniel J. Mitchell for The Cato Institute

Paul Manafort

Paul Manafort, American Hustler by Franklin Foer for The Atlantic

Real Estate in Manhattan

America's Own Island Haven: Manhattan by Michael Hudson for ICIJ

How Apple, Nike and Uber Avoid Paying Corporate Taxes by Declaring No Local Residency

Leaked Documents Expose Secret Tale of Apple's Offshore Island Hop by Simon Bowers [ICIJ]

How Nike Stays One Step Ahead of the Regulators by Simon Bowers

Nike Could Owe Billions in Back Taxes if New EU Probe Finds Against It by Simon Bowers


The West Enables Graft in Ukraine

Over 68% of Ukrainians don't trust Poroshenko – poll (October 26, 2017) by UNIAN Informationa Agency

Dan Gertler

Everything You Need to Know About Glencore, Dan Gertler and their interest in DRC in The Guardian (Nov. 5, 2017)

Dan Gertler on Wikipedia

US Dept. of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control Places Sanctions on 14 Companies Associated with Dan Gertler under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act

Michael Cohen

Firm Tied to Russian Oligarch Made Payments to Michael Cohen by Mike McIntireBen Protess and Jim Rutenberg in The New York Times (May 8, 2018)


Panama Papers Show How the Very Rich Use Art to Get Richer by Felix Salmon [Fusion (4/7/2016)]

Has the Art World Become An Unwitting Partner in Crime? by Graham Bowley and William K. Rashbaum for The New York Times


Playing Both Sides by Thomas Kistner, Frederik Obermaier, Bastian Obermayer, Mauritius Much [Süddeutsche Zeitung]

FIFA Has Made the "Beautiful Game" Ugly [Background for a Panel Presented By the ABILA Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Committee International Law Weekend, November 7, 2015*

The Shady World of Offshore Companies by ARD (German Public Television) [in English]


Gunnlaugsson in trouble

Effects of 2008 banking collapse in Ideland

Putin's Money and the Money of the Russian Oligarchs