Follow by Email

What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

MWN: Special report

Yep, your slightly addled MWN reporter is here to explain all about the Panama Papers, which you may have missed if you don't expand your news searching beyond domestic shores.

The whole story starts, I'm told, way back when, when TR went after Standard Oil.    You see, that drove them into looking for ways to skirt regulation, and that's when the friendly newborn nation of Panama offered to charter their ships to sail under the Panamanian flag...

Soon, cruise ships caught onto the idea, and they registered as Panamanian so they could still serve alcohol during prohibition.  Then the 70's came, gas prices soared, and Panama got rich offering accounts with absolute secrecy, since they avoided all those nasty tax treaties that civilized nations have with each other.  Then came the 80's when that prince to liberals Manuel Noriega opened the "Panamanian advantage" to the Medellin crime cartel and all their wonderful friends.  This led that awful Ronald Reagan to invade Panama and get rid of Noriega, and a new government promised to reform their tax-sheltering laws to keep out such riff-raff.  (Nod Nod Wink Wink)

Now, flash to last year, when the law firm of Mossack Fonseca, who apparently is the firm to go to when you want to set up secret offshore accounts anywhere in the world, had a leak of secret documents.  How many documents?  Well...

Or to put it another way, the difference between Wikileaks and the Panama Papers is like the population difference between San Francisco and India.

And what did they reveal?  Well, a German news agency has been going through the data for a year now, and has been sharing with other agencies around the world, until this week when certain celebrated victims started learning about getting caught in their own local papers.  Among them:

The Prime Minister of Iceland, who has resigned because of his backstage doings...

The newly elected head of that wonderfully honest soccer regulating foundation UEFA, who apparently sold the TV rights to the World Cup to 2 businessmen who then sold the rights again for 3 times the price, with the UEFA guy receiving, as the lawyers say, "significant compensation"...

Almost every important German financial institution (not surprising since Mossack Fonseca was founded by a German national)...

Several members of the families of heads of state in Pakistan, as well as the Putin clan in Russia...

And the head of Transparency International's branch in Chile, who had to resign.

While just about as many are scrambling to cover their behinds, including British PM David Cameron, whose father had a mention in the PPs.  And since the papers not only implicated those hiding in Panama, but also in the British Virgin Islands and the Caymans, at least one opposition back-bencher is calling for the Crown to end semi-independent rule in ALL British colonies to keep control of the wild hooligans in the colonies.

Here's a map of where most of the accused are from...

If you wanna play with the numbers, here is a link to the interactive map...

But now that the cats are out of the bag, so to speak, the "authorities" are rushing to shut down these loopholes forever.  From France...

French finance minister Michel Sapin has said Panama will go back on France's blacklist of uncooperative tax jurisdictions.

"Panama is a country that wanted us to believe that it could respect the main international tax principles and thus it was taken off the tax haven blacklist," he said. Edward Snowden...

With scandals in Russia, China, UK, Iceland, Ukraine, and more, perhaps a new rule: if you're in charge of a country, keep your money in it. Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie:

Moral indignation is cheap, but doing something constructive will require painstaking work...


  1. I'm wondering at this point how low we can sink before it's impossible to climb out...

    In other news, I posted a challenge to you back on MY blog. I hope you take me up on it.

  2. I had not heard that Iceland's PM had already resigned, just that he was being pressured to. But yes... I'd say it says a lot if your in charge of a country and not investing in it's banking system. You're either hiding something or not invested in what you're doing (literally and figuratively)


    I guess Iceland is off the vacation list. Damn.

    1. I hear Al Penwasser knows someone on the inside...

  3. Proof of what we all knew was already happening?

    I wonder if any of our mob clients had knowledge of this.... I try to keep ignorant of the details of their financial enterprises, for my own safety. But I do know that the best place to hide your laundered money, as of the present, is the Marshall Islands. I didn't even know that was a place until I started working here...

    1. The Marshalls, eh? They got a real light treatment on the interactive map.... they must hide it better there, which is the excuse they used for the USA getting off easy.

  4. Chris:
    I appreciate the historical backstory to all this. The media sources tend to leave OUT such important stuff.
    (like the truth)

    Sometimes, it DOES pay to "drop a dime"...or a whole ROLL of them.
    Talk about getting caught with their pants down around their
    Good report.

    Stay safe up there, brother.

  5. seriously, these things are almost not even shocking anymore.

    1. I know, right? They think they're fooling someone...

  6. Sometimes we think what is the world coming to, but then if we were to take a look back at the happenings in the world a hundred years ago or even two, three, four hundred years ago we realise as much as things change as much as things remain the same

    1. I remember thinking (when learning about WWII), "What was wrong with the German people? Didn't they see what was happening?"
      I am deathly afraid that schoolchildren 100 years from now will be wondering the same thing about Americans.

    2. Co-winners, comment of the post!

  7. When I read that the Prime Minister of Iceland resigned, the first thought that popped into my head (well, after, "Hey, the beer's all gone.") was that at least someone has integrity to offer his resignation when accused of something a little shady. Wouldn't that be refreshing in the Trump campaign (e.g. Corey Lewandowski)?