Update: Panama Papers September 2016

The Panama Papers were released in April 2016, outing the world’s wealthiest people, including celebrities, politicians and business leaders for hiding their wealth through Panama Law Firm, Mossack Fonseca, setups in world tax havens (currently 90 known world tax havens). The explosive revelations subsequently have included:

1) Up to $34 Trillion in Wealth, owned by the world’s richest people, held offshore in tax havens beyond the reach of tax authorities. As revealed 0.1% of the world’s population use offshore tax havens to skip out on payment of up to $300B per year in taxes worldwide.

2) Developing countries: Russia, China, Africa & So. America are “kleptocracies.” Their leaders embezzle trillions of dollars of their country’s assets, line their pockets (and friends, families and colleagues) and steal up to an estimated $14 Trillion in wealth which they hide offshore behind a maze of companies, trusts, and foundations including “purported charities”.

3) Offshore tax dodging includes up to $200 billion more in annual lost revenue from multi-nationals that “park assets” and “intellectual property” in tax free zones like: Ireland, Bermuda, Luxembourg and the Netherlands not paying any taxes and paying themselves tax-free royalties.

In the United States it is estimated that up to $184B per year is lost in federal/state/local tax revenues by wealthy US individual taxpayers who park money in tax havens and hide behind anonymous shell companies, nominees or “straw persons” and fail to disclose their assets or report the income from the assets which are tax crimes (i.e. felonies for willful evasion of tax, obstructing tax collection and conspiracy to commit tax evasion, when done in tandem with others).

In an 8/28/16 interview for the Real News Network, economist, lawyer, journalist James S. Henry told the RNN (Dharna Noor) that the reason ongoing efforts to address tax havens are failing is that “only international schemes and the organizations of ordinary people can counter interests of the most powerful global industries.

In the words of James S. Henry:

“So this is a problem that’s a complicated political mess (involving) some of the largest most powerful industries in the world. The banking industry, accounting profession, law firms, they’re deeply involved in this…. its a global haven industry for big business and they have a lot of political influence..”

Henry proposed a solution:

“The only way to organize around this is to cross-border to have pressure from international commissions, clean up the global haven industry… organizing around ordinary people, to understand how outrageous this situation has become…

Every movement that I can remember that made any social progress, from demolishing slavery to the progressive income tax itself, civil rights, these have all been created not by top-down politicians imagining these movement themselves, but from the bottom, from the grass roots up.

When ordinary people get involved they can work miracles”.

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