In 2021, a document trove containing approximately 11.9 million records was leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Dubbed the “Pandora Papers,” disclosure of the documents continues to disrupt the opaque world of offshore finance.
Following on the heels of the Panama Papers document leak in 2016, and the Paradise Papers in 2017, the Pandora Papers represented the largest leak of offshore tax and financial documents of the three. The 2.94 terabyte leak from an unknown source includes documents from 14 businesses that service wealthy individuals, entities, and governments with their offshore holdings. The documents come from law firms, financial managers, and corporate service agencies and literally contain a wealth of information about offshore economics and how the rich get richer.
Since these document leaks, investigations have been ongoing into businesses, trusts, and persons who stash their cash in low- or no-interest tax jurisdictions at the expense of the tax rolls where the owner of the asset lives, or where the asset is located.
Recently, the German state of Hesse appears to have purchased the entire set of Pandora Paper from an unknown source. The ICIJ does not sell or reveal the sources of its document sets. The Hessian Finance Minister, Michael Boddenberg notes early review of the document set reveals there are “cases worthy of examination.”
Although the price paid by Hesse has not been revealed, the intention of the jurisdiction seems clear. Boddenberg reflected, “If there are indications of tax crime, we will follow them up with all the means available to us. We have already informed all federal states and the federal government about the purchase of the Pandora Papers. Investigators from all over Germany and other EU countries can now contact [us] with inquiries.”
The Pandora Papers is purported to cover five decades of financial subterfuge and names more than 29,000 owners of offshore tax holdings. These owners include celebrities, athletes, royals, politicians, and the uber-wealthy. In the purchase of the data set, Hesse has positioned itself to collect a tidy sum from those who are named within and are found to have evaded taxes. Similarly, the British Revenue and Customs agency has delivered notices to those named in the Pandora Papers to settle up or else.
It seems likely that the wealthy wish to quietly remain that way. Headlines may be reserved for those who refuse to pay their tax debt and will probably be publicly exposed for their practices. We will have to wait and see.
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The legal team at Robert J. Fedor, Esq., LLC delivers experienced legal representation to clients throughout the U.S. and abroad on matters of offshore tax, compliance, or IRS criminal or civil audits. When you have tax questions, call us at 800-579-0997 or contact us. We have offices in Cleveland and Chicago.