Monday, April 04, 2016

Corrupting Greed Has Ample Partners

"On Sunday, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists announced the collaboration of more than 100 publications worldwide to report on the biggest electronic leak in history: the Panama Papers. These documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca total 11.5 million separate items spanning 40 years, and take up 2.6 terabytes of information—more than 1,500 times the size of the WikiLeaks State Department cables. Among the most explosive revelations from the leak are $2 billion in payouts to Vladimir Putin’s friends, family members, and allies, and that global soccer superstar Lionel Messi and his father set up an offshore company to which they are the only beneficiaries...."
Slate Magazine online, April 4, 2016
Handout tv grab from Telemetro Panama showing Ramon Fonseca, one of the founders of Panama's Mossack Fonseca law firm, in Panama City, on April 4, 2016 
Handout TV grab from Telemetro Panama showing Ramon Fonseca, one of the founders of Panama's Mossack Fonseca law firm, in Panama City, on April 4, 2016 Credit: AFP PHOTO/TELEMETRO PANAMA
"[Revealing unauthorized details of the offshore structures of wealthy clients is a] crime [an] attack [on Panama]."
"This is a crime, a felony. This is an attack on Panama because certain countries don’t like it that we are so competitive in attracting companies."
Ramon Fonseca, one of the founders of Mossack Fonseca

View of a sign outside the building where Panama-based Mossack Fonseca law firm offices are placed in Panama City on April 3, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / RODRIGO ARANGUA)
View of a sign outside the building where Panama-based Mossack Fonseca law firm offices are placed in Panama City on April 3, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / RODRIGO ARANGUA)

But according to Dmitri Petrov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, the revelations represent a conspiracy cooked up by Russia's Western enemies to smear Mr. Putin and Russia.
"It’s clear that the level of Putinphobia has reached a level at which it is impossible a priori to speak well of Russia, and it’s required to speak ill of Russia", he stated, denying at the same time that his wife is another owner of a beneficial company to evade taxes.

"My wife does not and has never owned any offshore companies. Based on this I am inclined to doubt the authenticity of other claims." But hold on there a minute; Mr. Peskov's wife, former Olympic ice skater Tatiana Navka is shown to have set up Carina Global Assets Ltd., in 2015, using agents on the Isle of Man to aid her in her investments portfolio, according to documents from the Panama Papers, including a copy of her own passport for identification purposes.

One might ask what do Sigmundur Davio Gunnlaugsson, prime minister of Iceland, the offspring of Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister David Cameron's father, Mauricio Macri, president of Argentina, Syria's Bashar al Assad, Salman bin Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al Saud, king of Saudi Arabia, Ayad Allawi, former prime minister of Iraq; Bidzina Ivanishvili, former Georgian prime minister, Ali Abu al-Ragab, former prime minister of Jordan, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, former prime minister of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, former emir of Qatar, Ahmad Ali al Mirghani, former president of Sudan, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, president of UAE, and Pavio Lazarenko, former prime minijster of Ukraine have in common?

Well, for starters, their complicated names, their 'former' status in a great many instances, and their obvious desire to escape notice for taxation purposes and in the process become the recipient of untold additional riches to add to their existing considerable wealth. And all kept out of the public eye. No longer away from the public's notice, there will be a lot of explaining to do, and many will lose face, let alone their political positions, albeit not those in the Middle East.

The information dragnet is voluminous to a fault, an incredible scoop of data released for public scrutiny and private shame. But apart from the inconvenience of revelations best kept hidden, many of these people have no shame, just an overweening entitlement, and the grasping desire to become more wealthy than they already are, and if the looting of public treasury and the white-washing of ill-gotten gains through corrupt transactions are involved, that's just the way the elite world of wealth making more wealth operates.

Russian state media itself reveals that $2-trillion in state assets have left the country in the past few years ... to end up, where? Among the unsavoury elements being revealed is the background of one of the founders of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca; there is the appalled Ramon Fonseca, attempting fruitlessly to divert attention from the criminal aspect of the firm's business, expressing frustration and innocence and criminality on the part of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists who leaked the revelatory documents.

And then, there is the other partner whose father, Erhard Mossack, was one of the law firm's co-founders. The current partner, Jurgen Mossack, has been silent so far. His father had been a member of the armed wing of Germany's Nazi party, known as the Death Heads, whose insignia was just that. U.S. Army intelligence files verify his status in that dread World War Two Nazi elite group whose function was to administer the death camps where millions of Jews, political prisoners, gays, gypsies, met their deaths.

It is the still-murky connection of Vladimir Putin and how he has benefited personally that will be of greatest interest, a man who has amassed a staggering fortune as president, prime minister and again president of the Russian Federation. Whose good friend Sergei Roldugin, director of the St. Petersburg Conservatory is directly responsible for managing massive amounts of money through shell companies.

But Mr. Putin is, of course, innocent of any wrongdoing, his press secretary attests to that: "Here we see no intent to conduct objective investigations, we see just an intention to publish a hatchet job", he complained in defense of his boss.

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