Written By: - Date published: 10:31 am, May 7th, 2016 - 162 comments
Categories: accountability, capitalism, class war, corruption, john key - Tags: corruption, john doe, panama papers, tax, tax evasion, tax haven
Well this story just keeps on growing doesn’t it.
Over night the Panama Papers leaker “John Doe” released a “manifesto”. In it he/she mentioned just one national leader by name, our very own John Key. Here are some extracts from the manifesto:
John Doe’s Manifesto
Income inequality is one of the defining issues of our time. It affects all of us, the world over. The debate over its sudden acceleration has raged for years, with politicians, academics and activists alike helpless to stop its steady growth despite countless speeches, statistical analyses, a few meagre protests, and the occasional documentary. Still, questions remain: why? And why now?
The Panama Papers provide a compelling answer to these questions: massive, pervasive corruption. And it’s not a coincidence that the answer comes from a law firm. More than just a cog in the machine of “wealth management,” Mossack Fonseca used its influence to write and bend laws worldwide to favour the interests of criminals over a period of decades.
Shell companies are often associated with the crime of tax evasion, but the Panama Papers show beyond a shadow of a doubt that although shell companies are not illegal by definition, they are used to carry out a wide array of serious crimes that go beyond evading taxes. I decided to expose Mossack Fonseca because I thought its founders, employees and clients should have to answer for their roles in these crimes, only some of which have come to light thus far. It will take years, possibly decades, for the full extent of the firm’s sordid acts to become known.
In the meantime, a new global debate has started, which is encouraging. Unlike the polite rhetoric of yesteryear that carefully omitted any suggestion of wrongdoing by the elite, this debate focuses directly on what matters.
Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand has been curiously quiet [emphasis added] about his country’s role in enabling the financial fraud Mecca that is the Cook Islands. In Britain, the Tories have been shameless about concealing their own practices involving offshore companies, while Jennifer Shasky Calvery, the director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network at the United States Treasury, just announced her resignation to work instead for HSBC, one of the most notorious banks on the planet (not coincidentally headquartered in London). And so the familiar swish of America’s revolving door echoes amidst deafening global silence from thousands of yet-to-be-discovered ultimate beneficial owners who are likely praying that her replacement is equally spineless. In the face of political cowardice, it’s tempting to yield to defeatism, to argue that the status quo remains fundamentally unchanged, while the Panama Papers are, if nothing else, a glaring symptom of our society’s progressively diseased and decaying moral fabric.
The media has failed. Many news networks are cartoonish parodies of their former selves, individual billionaires appear to have taken up newspaper ownership as a hobby, limiting coverage of serious matters concerning the wealthy, and serious investigative journalists lack funding.
Historians can easily recount how issues involving taxation and imbalances of power have led to revolutions in ages past. Then, military might was necessary to subjugate peoples, whereas now, curtailing information access is just as effective or more so, since the act is often invisible. Yet we live in a time of inexpensive, limitless digital storage and fast internet connections that transcend national boundaries. It doesn’t take much to connect the dots: from start to finish, inception to global media distribution, the next revolution will be digitized.
Or perhaps it has already begun.
See coverage in:
The Guardian: Panama Papers source breaks silence over ‘scale of injustices’ (“Whistleblower says leak of 11.5m Mossack Fonseca files on offshore tax havens has triggered debate but not enough action”)
— Grant Robertson (@grantrobertson1) May 6, 2016
— Helen Kelly (@helenkellyUnion) May 6, 2016
— الطائي بو (Rangi) (@Te_Taipo) May 6, 2016