One of the biggest data leaks in history has revealed the tax havens 140 political figures — including 12 current of former heads of states — use to hide their finances.
Some 11.5 million documents from around 214,000 offshore entities held by the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca were leaked to German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, which shared the information with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) made up of 107 media organisations in 78 countries.
The data dump covers 40 years of documents dated from 1975 to the end of last year.
According to the ICIJ, names featured in the leak include aides of Russian president Vladimir Putin, the president of Ukraine, the king of Saudi Arabia and the prime ministers of Iceland and Pakistan.
The Guardian suggests a network of secret offshore deals and vast loans worth $US2 billion have been linked to Putin, although his name never appears in the documents. Read more on that here.
The news outlet also reports that as a result of Iceland’s prime minister being named in relation to the leak, parliament is discussing a motion calling for a general election.
More than 800 individual Australians have been identified by the ATO from the leaked data and 120 of those have been linked to an associate offshore service provider in Hong Kong.
ATO deputy commissioner Michael Cranston says the tax office has ramped up its compliance work to deal with those taxpayers who have failed to disclose offshore income and assets.
“We are also working closely with the AFP (Australian Federal Police), Australian Crime Commission and AUSTRAC to further cross-check the data and strengthen our intelligence,” he says.
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