Tag Archives: Panama Papers

Trump campaign manager’s Ukrainian clients have Panama Papers connections

GOP presidential nominee Donald J. Trump sent shudders through US foreign policy circles and the international community this week, when he suggested that, as president, he might not fulfill America’s promises to defend NATO members against a Russian attack. That departure from historical American policies, and Republican wisdom, came days after the Trump campaign reportedly softened the GOP platform’s hardline stance against pro-Russian rebels fighting to control Ukraine.

Those moves were less surprising to critics of Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who for more than a decade has cultivated business ties to pro-Russian politicians and industrialists in Ukraine.

Now, Fusion has learned that the names of several of Manafort’s connections appear in shell company records from the notorious Panama Papers and the Offshore Leaks, troves of information on offshore companies unearthed in recent years by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Read on.

Netflix to bring ‘Panama Papers’ to life with new feature film

Netflix is looking for its Spotlight.

The Los Gatos-based streaming service announced Tuesday that it is tackling the definitive story behind The Panama Papers, which some deem the biggest leak in the history of journalism.

The leak released 2.6 terabytes of data in 11.5 million documents tracking billions of dollars over almost 40 years. In the process, world leaders, athletes and celebrities around the globe were implicated.

More than 370 journalists from more than 100 media outlets in almost 80 countries around the world worked on the story, but it was German journalists Frederik Obermaier and Bastian Obermayer — and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists — that took the lead.

Netflix has acquired the rights to Obermaier and Obermayer’s book The Panama Papers: Breaking the Story of How the Rich and Powerful Hide Their Money

Read on.

Panama Papers reveal yet another secretive aspect of hedge funds

HIGHLIGHTS

Bernard Madoff’s feeder funds show up in the Panama Papers

2 other managers who used offshores to hide assets find themselves in jail

One fund manager says there is room for more transparency

The kinds of secret offshore companies that have hidden political corruption and tax evasion around the world are often used by Wall Street’s biggest money makers — the $2 trillion hedge fund industry.

The now-famous Panama Papers leak offers rare insight into the workings of this exclusive investment club.

Hedge funds accept individual investors with net worths of $1 million or more and worker pension funds with $5 million or more. They and their investors often locate in tax havens such as the Cayman Islands or the British Virgin Islands.

The names found in the leaked files from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca include two now-imprisoned hedge fund managers, a major “feeder fund” that was part of the largest-ever Ponzi scheme run by Bernard Madoff and several anonymous investors whose offshore companies became tangled in the Madoff web.

In the aftermath of the Madoff scandal and the 2008 U.S. financial crisis, hedge funds have been forced to register with regulators, and they face severe penalties under a new “bad actor rule” if they take money from criminals or proceeds of corruption.“Most financial institutions do require considerable information on investors” today, said Robert Van Grover, an attorney with Seward & Kissel LLP in New York who thought the abuses found in the Panama Papers “would be very difficult in the United States” now.

But the hedge fund managers and their investors identified in the leaked documents by McClatchy and partners underscore what has been a weakness in oversight: They often used secret offshore companies, which hid investor fraud and potentially unsavory investors from U.S. regulators.

Inside the leak that rocked the world: WIRED meets the men behind the Panama Papers

It’s not often a single anonymous message can result in ripples being made around the world’s political and economic elite. The one sent to Bastian Obermayer did.

The message the investigative journalist received was from ‘John Doe’ – the unknown whistleblower responsible for thePanama Papers’ revelations.

Iceland’s prime minister resigned; 800 companies are being investigated in Australia; 64 firms are being grilled in the UK;“Putinphobia” was created; and Obama called for global tax changes.

“At the beginning I didn’t think this was the new big story,” Obermayer, 38, told WIRED. Once the source had made contact and some initial verification documents had been sent, the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper journalist met colleague Frederik Obermaier and drank ouzo in a “shabby” Greek restaurant in Munich.

Now, several months after the global story broke and implicated world leaders, the pair has detailed the inside story of its investigation in a new book. A statement inside the book from ‘Doe’ says the 11.5 million documents, totalling 2.6 terabytes of data, were released to stop “massive, pervasive corruption”.

Read on.

Panama Papers probe looks stalled until October

It looks like checks carried out by authorities into possible Cypriot connections to the Panama Papers will be dragging into the autumn.

The House ethics committee, which tabled the issue for discussion – the matter was tabled by Greens MP George Perdikis – heard on Tuesday that state agencies and regulatory authorities will be able to come back with a more detailed picture, but not until October.

MPs heard from the Tax Department that to date it has identified 100 of some 3,600 individuals mentioned in the Panama Papers as being linked in some way or another to Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm at the centre of the leaks.

The Tax Department said it was having difficulty identifying the remainder of the individuals as some of the names in the leaked list were identical, occurred several times, and lacked an identity card number or phone details.

The Unit for Combating Money Laundering (MOKAS) has been combing through its own records to determine whether there are any individuals or companies linked to the Panama Papers who have come to the unit’s attention in the past.

A memo that MOKAS submitted to the House committee shows that since September 2013, from convictions relating to money-laundering offences, courts have issued 39 confiscation orders for amounts worth some €36 million.

Read on.

The Panama Papers reveal a secret McKinsey-linked investment scheme involving major financiers

Fusion:

McKinsey is perhaps the world’s best-known management consulting firm, and a high-powered farm team for America’s corporate elite. It’s also home to a $9.5 billion private hedge fund known as the McKinsey Investment Office. MIO invests in many companies linked to McKinsey, and has an enviable record: It has made money in 24 of the past 25 years, including a 14% return in 2014 alone. That’s much higher than the stock market or the average hedge fund.

McKinsey is willing to admit that MIO exists (it even has a very, very thin website), but they’re not willing to say much more than that. And beyond MIO, in the interstices of decades-old McKinsey friendships, we have no idea at all how many investments McKinsey-connected individuals make in each other’s companies.

Now, thanks to the Panama Papers, we have a tiny sliver of a window into one such scheme. It’s domiciled in a Caribbean tax haven, all but untraceable, and comes complete with a Panamanian lineage and a meaningless name: Brightao.

The Panama Papers, which were obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with Fusion and other media partners, have exposed the offshore holdings of heads of state and criminals, highlighting the potential for corruption, tax evasion, and other illicit activities within this parallel financial universe. The papers also provide a rare window into the wealth, privilege, and opportunity afforded the lucky members of the McKinsey elite, and their friends.

Brightao, founded in 2007, is a shell company in the British Virgin Islands. The founder was Peter Walker, a 43-year veteran of McKinsey and a globally recognized expert in both China and the insurance industry. The company’s founding shareholders include Sandy Weill, the financial services empire-builder who created Citigroup; legendary M&A banker Gary Parr; and various McKinsey ex-colleagues.

Brightao was created in the service of one of Walker’s protégés at McKinsey—a high-flying Chinese technocrat named Heidi Hu. It allowed big-name financiers, including current and former McKinsey employees, to invest in Hu’s nascent yet promising insurance company, even if that may have violated the spirit of McKinsey’s own rules against investing in the same companies it advises.

Panama Papers are available. Why hasn’t U.S. asked to see them?

Panamanian government has received 3 requests from countries, but not U.S.

Little action apparent on Capitol Hill, other than questions from a committee

The Obama administration announced plans in May, but nothing has come of them

Nearly three months after the revelations from the Panama Papers exposed politicians, drug cartels and the wealthy hiding millions behind offshore companies, the U.S. Justice Department has yet to ask its Panamanian counterpart for access to seized records.

The inaction raises questions about the response by Congress and the Obama administration to the unprecedented leak that rocked governments in Iceland, Pakistan and the United Kingdom and prompted investigations worldwide.

“The biggest financial scandal involving offshores is greeted with a yawn by U.S. law enforcement officials?” said Charles Intriago, a former federal prosecutor and money-laundering expert in Miami. “It doesn’t make any sense that a pot of evidentiary gold is going unpursued by the U.S. Department of Justice.”