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The Panama Papers Reading List

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Panama Papers Wins Pulitzer Prize

The honor is a testament to the enterprise and teamwork of our staff and our partners here in the U.S. and around the world, ICIJ's director says.

Awards and recognition

The Panama Papers project, led by ICIJ and German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung working in collaboration with more than 100 media outlets, has been honored with awards and finalist mentions by more than a dozen major international prizes, including:

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Where Are They Now? A Year Later, Mixed Fortunes For Panama Papers Line-Up

One year after the Panama Papers first became an international catchphrase, here’s a globe-hopping update on the people and institutions caught up in the scandal.

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VIDEO: Twelve Months of Investigations, Impact and Outrage

A year ago the Panama Papers dominated newspaper headlines and brought now-iconic images to TV screens around the world. Since then, investigations have continued and outrage has grown.

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Panama Prosecutor Claims 'Solid Case' Against Mossack Fonseca

The law firm at the heart of the Panama Papers affair, sold shell companies and held bank accounts that were used to help conceal bribes paid across South America, a Panamanian prosecutor alleged at a press conference.

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Founders of Panama Papers Law Firm Arrested on Money Laundering Charges

Police in Panama arrested the founders of Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the center of the Panama Papers scandal, on money laundering charges Thursday after authorities raided the firm’s headquarters as part of investigations into Brazil’s largest-ever bribery scandal.

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Tax Agencies Draw Up ‘Target List’ of Offshore Enablers

Tax agencies from 30 countries convened in Paris this week to take part in the largest ever simultaneous exchange of tax information and to share results and details on thousands of investigations sparked by the Panama Papers.

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Panama’s Revolving Door Shows Global Challenge of Offshore Reform

In a country where top-drawer lawyers move freely between high government posts and law firms selling secrecy-cloaked shell companies, bringing lasting change to the offshore industry is a challenge.

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Journalists Hang Tough in Face of Backlash Against Panama Papers Reporting

Reporters have faced consequences both in nations where media crackdowns are common and also in nations with reputations for high levels of press freedom.

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Panama Papers Have Had Historic Global Effects — and the Impacts Keep Coming

The investigation has produced an almost daily drumbeat of regulatory moves, follow-up stories and calls by politicians and activists for more action to combat offshore financial secrecy.

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BVI Hits Mossack Fonseca With Largest Fine Ever After Panama Papers Investigation

The $440,000 penalty followed a six-month investigation which included on-site compliance inspections and the appointment of an officer to monitor Mossack Fonseca's operations.

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Experts Who Quit Panama's Transparency Commission Produce Their Own Report

Report's authors say that the U.S. and EU have the power to force other nations to embrace transparency reforms by threatening to cut off access to their financial systems.

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Pakistan's PM Responds to Supreme Court Hearing on Panama Papers

Nawaz Sharif defended himself before the nation’s highest court, as opposition supporters celebrated in Islamabad.

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Panama Hires PR Firm Amid Ongoing Panama Papers Fallout

A PR firm is being paid $50,000 a month to help the Panama government, while arrests, protests and more continue around the world.

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Hedge Fund Sues Mossack Fonseca For Alleged Obstruction of Justice in Nevada

Confidential emails revealed in the Panama Papers have opened a new front in a bitter court battle in Nevada involving a hedge fund led by an American billionaire, new court filings show.

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Experts Quit Panama's Transparency Committee Over Lack of Transparency

The committee was established in the wake of the Panama Papers to probe Panama's financial services industry, but now two out of three international members have resigned.

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Continent of Secrets: Uncovering Africa's Offshore Empires

Africa receives $50 billion of foreign aid money annually, but then loses roughly the same amount through illicit outflows. Can you uncover Africa's offshore empires? Play now!

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Secret Offshore Deals Deprive Africa of Billions in Natural Resource Dollars

The Panama Papers show how politicians and mining, oil and gas interests benefit from secrecy and dubious multimillion dollar transfers.

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Secret Documents Expose Nigerian Oil Mogul’s Offshore Hideaways

A dealmaker’s backstage maneuverings are revealed in the Panama Papers as he hung with celebrities while criminal investigators closed in.

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Diamond Mine with Offshore Ties Leaves Trail of Complaints

The Panama Papers reveal a network of shell companies linked to a mining operation that has been accused of environmental harms and unpaid taxes.

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Out of Africa, Into Tax Havens

As visitors come to see what’s in Africa, some safari operators’ profits head offshore.

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Reporters Warned, Inquiries Opened as African Nations Respond to Panama Papers

Mossack Fonseca targeted clients in Africa for business, but now some of those clients have become targets themselves as authorities launch investigations into the Panama Papers revelations.

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Panama Papers Credited As New EU Anti Money-Laundering And Tax Abuse Rules Proposed

The European Commission has announced it will tighten the European Union’s anti-money laundering rules and increase transparency requirements for companies and trusts.

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Venezuela and Panama To Launch Joint Panama Papers Investigation

The joint investigation will be the "first of its kind," and Venezuela's attorney general has hinted at a long list of suspects.

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European Inquiry to Call UK Chancellor, Mossack Fonseca to Testify

A special 65-member Panama Papers committee of inquiry has been created by the European parliament to investigate potential wrongdoing exposed by ICIJ's investigation.

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Mossack Fonseca's US Operations Under Pressure, Island Offices Closed

Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca’s local affiliate in Nevada has resigned from more than 1,000 companies and paid a penalty to the state amid investigations on multiple fronts.

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US States Under Pressure As World Pushes For Financial Transparency

Nevada, Wyoming and Delaware are facing growing pressure over their lack of corporate transparency, as the United States and the international community continue to respond to fallout from the Panama Papers.

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The Malefactors of Mossack Fonseca

Meet The Dutchman, the Queen of the South, the Boss of Bosses and other convicted felons and alleged wrongdoers who have benefited from services provided by the law firm.

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Panama Papers Include Dozens of Americans Tied to Fraud and Financial Misconduct

Mossack Fonseca's files include offshore companies linked to at least 36 Americans accused of serious financial wrongdoing, including fraud and racketeering.

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Beyond Panama: Unlocking the world’s secrecy jurisdictions

The 21 jurisdictions covered by the Panama Papers data vary from the rolling hills of Wyoming to tropical getaways like the British Virgin Islands. But all have at least one thing in common - secrecy is the rule.

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Panama Papers Source Offers Documents To Governments, Hints At More To Come

The anonymous whistleblower behind the Panama Papers has conditionally offered to make the documents available to government authorities.

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US Officials React to Panama Papers Disclosures With Get-Tough Proposals

The Obama administration has proposed a national registry documenting the real owners of shell companies and other measures aimed at fighting offshore chicanery.

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Iceland’s First Lady Linked to Offshore Investments

Records in the Panama Papers and the Swiss Leaks leaked files tie the wife of Iceland President Ólafur Grímsson to offshore companies and accounts.

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Coming Soon: ICIJ to Release Panama Papers Offshore Companies Data

The database, to be released on May 9, will likely be the largest ever release of secret offshore companies and the people behind them.

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Cartel-Linked Suspects Arrested After Panama Papers Revelations

Uruguayan prosecutors are seeking to bring to trial at least five individuals detained on suspicion of laundering money for a powerful Mexican drug cartel.

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US Prosecutor Opens Investigation Into 'Panama Papers Matters'

ICIJ welcomes the interest from the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office, but has made it clear it won't be turning over its data or taking part in any investigation.

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Banks Ordered to Provide Info on Panama Dealings to NY Regulator

More than a dozen banks identified in the Panama Papers investigation have been asked to hand over details of their communications with Mossack Fonseca.

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Art held offshore

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Pakistan's PM Leaves Country, Spanish Minister Resigns

Nawaz Sharif faces growing pressure and calls for his resignation, a Spanish minister has stepped aside, and more governments are pledging reform as fallout from the Panama Papers revelations continues.

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Panama Police Raid Mossack Fonseca As Global Fallout Continues

The search of Mossack Fonseca's Panama headquarters comes after a number of raids and official action taken in response to the Panama Papers revelations.

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Global joint investigation to be proposed at special tax meeting

Tax officials from 28 nations met in Paris to develop a strategy for collaborative action based on Panama Papers revelations.

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British PM Announces New Transparency Measures Following Panama Papers Revelations

David Cameron appeared before parliament on Monday to address concerns about his own links to offshore holdings revealed in the Panama Papers, as well as announce reform aimed at boosting transparency.

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The Art of Secrecy

Locked in the files of a Panama law firm are the answers to mysteries involving Van Goghs, Picassos, Rembrandts and other masterworks.

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Panama Papers Spark High-Level FIFA Resignation and Swiss Police Raid

Swiss police searched the office of Europe's top soccer association and a member of FIFA's ethics panel resigned following Panama Papers revelations.

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Leaked Files Offer Many Clues To Offshore Dealings by Top Chinese

Eight current and former members of the Politburo Standing Committee, the country's top decision makers, have relatives with secret offshore companies.

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Spies and Shadowy Allies Lurk in Secret With Help From Offshore Firm

Firm helps CIA operatives and other characters — real or fanciful — from the world of espionage set up offshore companies to obscure their dealings.

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Iceland Prime Minister Tenders Resignation Following Panama Papers Revelations

The prime minister of Iceland said he would resign following mass protests triggered by reports from ICIJ and partners that he had owned an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands with his wife.

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Law Firm’s Files Include Dozens of Companies and People Blacklisted by U.S. Authorities

Global law firm’s customers include suspected financiers of terrorism, nuclear weapons proliferators and gunrunners.

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How Family that Runs Azerbaijan Built an Empire of Hidden Wealth

Documents peel away three layers of secret ownership in a conglomerate and lead to gold mines and overseas real estate.

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Global Banks Team with Law Firms To Help the Wealthy Hide Assets

Leaked records show that hundreds of banks and their subsidiaries and branches registered nearly 15,600 shell companies.

About this project

The Panama Papers is an unprecedented investigation that reveals the offshore links of some of the globe’s most prominent figures.

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All Putin’s Men: Secret Records Reveal Money Network Tied to Russian Leader

Complex offshore financial deals channel money and power towards a network of people and companies linked to President Vladimir Putin.

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Giant Leak of Offshore Financial Records Exposes Global Array of Crime and Corruption

Millions of documents show heads of state, criminals and celebrities using secret hideaways in tax havens.

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Panamanian Law Firm Is Gatekeeper To Vast Flow of Murky Offshore Secrets

Files show client roster that includes drug dealers, Mafia members, corrupt politicians and tax evaders — and wrongdoing galore.

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Leak Ties Ethics Guru to Three Men Charged in FIFA Scandal

Secret documents show how deeply the world of soccer has become enmeshed in the world of offshore havens.

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Iceland’s Prime Minister Ducks Question But the Answer Catches Up with Him

He came to power after the country’s financial collapse while hiding his offshore holdings of millions in bonds from Icelandic banks.

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How the One Percenters Divorce: Offshore Intrigue Plays Hide and Seek with Millions

Firm that practices no matrimonial law nonetheless plays big role when the superrich around the globe decide to split.

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Experts Quit Panama's Transparency Committee Over Lack of Transparency

Committee established in the wake of the Panama Papers loses two out of three international members

By

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz has resigned as chairman of a Panamanian government commission set up to investigate the Central American country’s offshore financial industry in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal, saying that government officials have refused to give the panel full independence.

Stiglitz and Mark Pieth, a Swiss anti-corruption expert, wrote Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela on Friday that they were pulling out of the study committee because they fear government officials will limit the panel’s freedom to investigate and keep its final report secret.

They said in the letter that government officials had declined to commit to public release of the panel’s report and instead had insisted the group’s findings would be the “property” of the government and that Panamanian authorities would have “sole responsibility” for any public announcements. Such restrictions, they said, made no sense considering that the panel was set up to investigate concerns about how offshore secrecy encourages money laundering and other misconduct.

“How can a group allegedly committed to transparency write a report that is not transparent? It would undermine our own credibility,” Stiglitz said in telephone interview Friday afternoon. “Evidently they wanted us to be part of a charade to convince people they were serious when in fact they weren’t.”

A government spokesperson issued a brief statement saying Panamanian officials regretted Stiglitz and Pieth’s exit from the panel and adding that the government “understands both resignations” are related to “internal differences” within the panel “over which it won’t intervene.”

The statement added: “The Government of Panama reiterates its firm and real commitment to transparency and international cooperation” and how showed this commitment “with clear actions that have been recognized by the international community.”

In their resignation letter, Stiglitz and Pieth urged that the independent committee disband. Stiglitz said he and Pieth will likely issue their own separate report, which will make the case that being more transparent will help Panama’s economy in the long run.

Panamanian authorities established the panel – appointing four members from Panama and three from outside the country – in April.

President Varela called for the creation of the committee after the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and more than 100 other media partners began publishing stories exposing how a Panama-headquartered law firm, Mossack Fonseca, had set up hard-to-trace shell companies for politicians, professional athletes, organized crime figures and money launderers from around the world. The resulting media firestorm forced Panama’s government to respond.

Varela said at the time panel was formed that his administration was committed to “bulletproofing” Panama’s financial services sector “against threats from people and groups who want to use it for illegal activities.”

The commission is supposed to make recommendations to Varela and other Panamanian officials and write a report on their findings by the end of this year.

Stiglitz and Pieth said that committee members had agreed during a meeting in New York in early June that Panama’s government needed to make the committee’s report public no matter what its findings. Pieth said in an interview Friday with Tages-Anzeiger, a Swiss newspaper that collaborated on the Panama Papers investigation, that he and Stiglitz decided to resign after an official with Panama’s foreign ministry sent them a “rude” letter on July 29 that said the government wouldn’t commit to releasing the report.

“We were a little shocked,” Stiglitz told ICIJ. “Before we took the action to resign, we made an effort to contact the vice president or president, and we were rebuffed. We never got through.”

Pieth told Tages-Anzeiger that he and Stiglitz agreed that “we don’t write secret reports. If you want to have a clean financial center, transparency is the top priority.”

In their letter to Varela, Stiglitz and Pieth wrote: “We believe that transparency is at the core of our mission – transparency in Panama’s corporate and financial sectors and transparency regarding the Independent Committee’s process, findings and final reports. Given our commitment to transparency and the fact that global standards are moving towards more disclosure not less, we believe that it’s essential that our findings be made public and that Independent Committee members shall be allowed to speak freely about our findings, recommendations and beliefs.”

Stiglitz is a professor at Columbia University in New York and shared the 2001 Nobel prize in economics. Pieth is a professor of law and criminology at Basel University and spent more than 20 years as the chair of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s working group on corporate bribery.

Pieth and Stiglitz’s resignation letter noted that the country has made progress on meeting international standards aimed at combating money laundering and tax evasion, but said the country needs stronger laws and better enforcement when it comes to overseeing law firms, accounting firms and other key players in the offshore financial system. Because international standards are getting stronger, they said, Panama needs to do more to keep up.

If not, they said, “the gap between Panama and these global standards will increase, with substantial potential damage to Panama’s reputation and its place within the international community.”

Later Friday afternoon, after fielding questions about the two panel members’ resignations, Panamanian officials distributed a nine-page document that describes itself as the committee’s July 2016 “interim report.”

The document recommends more reporting requirements for offshore companies and suggests other changes in the country’s regulatory practices. It says Panama should try to reduce and, if possible, eliminate “all forms” of “illicit” money flows.

Stiglitz and Pieth, however, said in their letter to President Varela that they had played no role in writing the document. Had they done so, they said, they would have made recommendations that “go far beyond” those that appear in the document.

“Neither of us agreed to that report, and it was prepared and submitted without discussion within the Committee,” Stiglitz and Pieth wrote. “Indeed, one of us is not even in receipt of the Final Interim Report, after submitting numerous requests. While there may be conclusions of that report with which we agree, that Report should not be considered the work of the Committee.”

They added that it “appears strange and non‐transparent” that a report of the committee be submitted without approval of Stiglitz, the committee’s chair.

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