Panama Papers: source issues a tax justice document

   0   0 Blog, TJN
Countries with politicians, public officials or close associates implicated in the leak. Source: Wikipedia

Countries with politicians, public officials or close associates implicated in the leak. Source: Wikipedia

The source for the “Panama Papers” data leaks, originally via Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung, has issued a statement expressing mixed feelings about the world’s reactions to the leaks. It is a devastating statement of tax justice and the main purpose of this blog is really to ensure that our readers are aware of its existence. We’ve put a few comments below, but they are less significant than the statement: just go and read it.

The title of the statement is “The Revolution Will Be Digitized” – suggesting a non-British source (or they would have written “Digitised”) who is a technology fan, which is consistent with stories that it is a hacker — and the source states:

“I do not work for any government or intelligence agency, directly or as a contractor, and I never have. My viewpoint is entirely my own.”

This is certainly plausible. 

Most significant, perhaps, is the promise to make the data (conditionally) available to governments.

“In the end, thousands of prosecutions could stem from the Panama Papers, if only law enforcement could access and evaluate the actual documents. ICIJ and its partner publications have rightly stated that they will not provide them to law enforcement agencies. I, however, would be willing to cooperate with law enforcement to the extent that I am able.”

(And the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists ICIJ), which collaborated with Süddeutsche Zeitung in co-ordinating the international media response, will be making a controlled searchable public release of some Panama Papers documents tomorrow). Even this won’t be enough, of course. Governments around the world – from Colombia to the United Kingdom – seem to have proved themselves incapable of taking on their élites and actually cracking down on the basis of information received – and the OECD, which is supposed to be the global body cracking down on this stuff, has “had a bad Panama Papers.” As the source states:

“For fifty years, executive, legislative, and judicial branches around the globe have utterly failed to address the metastasizing tax havens spotting Earth’s surface.”

(Metastatising – a cancer-related word we like to use too: it’s very apt, given the race-to-the-bottom dynamics that power the system.) In light of all this, it will be important that the media and civil society bodies and other folk call them out on this promised information sharing, as and when it happens.

The source also defends whistleblowers:

“Legitimate whistleblowers who expose unquestionable wrongdoing, whether insiders or outsiders, deserve immunity from government retribution, full stop.”

The source also promises further relevations and notes, exactly as we have, that the Panama Papers were not all about tax:

“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.”

And when we say that the manifesto, if you want to call it that, is a tax justice document, we mean it’s aligned very much with our views. And for us the very term ‘tax justice,’ like the popular term ‘tax haven’, is a misnomer. For us, tax justice covers tax AND tax havens – and it’s that second term that covers all those non-tax elements.

But as we said, please just go and read the statement.



Related Posts

UN must defend target to curtail multinational companies’ tax abuse

Photo by Luca Santori, Creative Commons LicenseThe Tax Justice Network, The Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation, and the Global Alliance for Tax Justice call on the UN Secretary General to make sure the commitment to action on tax abuses by multinational companies remains part of the new UN Sustainable Development Goals.


The BVI: Responsible for worldwide tax losses of $37.5 billion a year

BVI report blogAn extraordinary report by consultants Capital Economics, for BVI Finance, claims that the British Virgin Islands are responsible for $1.5 trillion of assets invested around the world, and that these result in 2.2 million jobs and $15 billion in tax revenue. A better approximation would be that the BVI imposes global tax losses of $37.5 […]


Event: Making Tax Work for Women in the UK and Globally

Invitation_ Tax and Gender eventOn Wednesday 28th June 2017 at 16.30 our very own Liz Nelson will be speaking at an event in London that aims to bring together gender and tax justice advocates to highlight the need for coherent and gender-responsive fiscal policies to safeguard the rights of women and girls both in the UK and globally. The […]


Historic event on women, human rights and tax justice in Bogota

BogotaLast week civil society organisations, researchers, labour union activists and policy makers met in Bogota, Colombia to explore how tax justice issues can ensure governments, multinational corporations and others meet their obligations to women in order to secure their full range of human rights. The Women’s Rights and Tax Justice conference opened with a conversation […]


The Offshore Wrapper: the Panama Papers, one year on

Photos from the Protest outside PwC 1 Embankment Place, part of the Global week of action for tax justiceWelcome to the Offshore Wrapper – your weekly update from TJN.  Happy Paniversary! This week it’s been one year since the Panama Papers were leaked, and a number of organisations around the world have been marking the occasion though the global week of action for tax justice. In London, activists from the TJN and the […]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top