The just-released Panama Papers—filled with titillating details involving the shady dealings of world leaders and violent traffickers of drugs and slaves—should give a strong boost to U.S. and global campaigns to crack down on these global secrecy jurisdictions and practices.
Starting with an anonymous leak to the German newspaper Suddeutche Zietung and shared with a consortium of journalists, the Panama Papers initially identify 140 politicians and public officials using off-shore schemes.
Leaders named with offshore wealth include current and former members of China’s politburo, three members of the UK House of Lords, and the presidents of Iceland and Ukraine, and the prime minister of Pakistan. Others include movie star Jackie Chan, Argentinian soccer star Lionel Messi, and 29 billionaires from the Forbes global wealth list.
Initial media coverage in US major dailies is scant, perhaps due to the conspicuous absence of US citizens named in what The Guardian calls the “first tranche” of disclosures. But as more findings are revealed over the coming months, it’s hard to imagine that prominent American names won’t be on the lists.