So far, we’ve found a few dozen Georgia addresses in these records, much of which comes from a massive leak of 11.5 million files from the database of Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm notorious for creating hard-to-trace offshore companies.
The Georgia addresses are tied to a variety of businesses, from an overseas mining company to family trusts, and have been traced by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists to offshore companies as far away as the Cook Islands in the South Pacific.
Never heard of it? Well, The New York Times has called the Cook Islands “A Paradise of Untouchable Assets:”
[T]hese trusts are popular with the wealthy in Palm Beach, Fla., New York and Hollywood. The trust owners include people who have been convicted of Medicaid fraud, Ponzi schemes and bilking employee pension funds. Many others are simply rich.
There are many legal reasons to start offshore companies, but the ICIJ, a global network of reporters who are reporting on the leaked information, has uncovered drug traffickers, convicted criminals and companies blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury because of ties to alleged wrongdoing:
The cache of 11.5 million records shows how a global industry of law firms and big banks sells financial secrecy to politicians, fraudsters and drug traffickers as well as billionaires, celebrities and sports stars.
These are among the findings of a yearlong investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and more than 100 other news organizations.
The files expose offshore companies controlled by the prime minister of Iceland, the king of Saudi Arabia and the children of the president of Azerbaijan and the prime minister of Pakistan.
We’re in the (very) early stages of looking at the data. Stay tuned.