‘Panama Papers’ Link Putin, Global Elites & Corruption

What if I told you that, over the past several decades, global elites — including heads of state, celebrities and even sports stars — all were using offshore "shell" companies to house assets overseas?

You probably wouldn’t be too surprised.

I mean, I think that many Uncommon Wisdom Daily readers are rightly suspicious about the power of global elites. Especially how they use financial and other tools to game the system in ways both legal — and illegal.

Well, over the weekend we discovered the extent of the global money hideaway with the release of what’s being called the "Panama Papers."

On Sunday, German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung released a treasure trove of data amounting to 2.6 terabytes of information, or some 11.5 million files.

Data in the files came from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, the world’s fourth-biggest offshore law firm. It specializes in managing money and creating financial accounts in offshore jurisdictions such as the British Virgin Islands.

Thanks to an anonymous whistleblower, the leaked documents give us new insight into the extent and sordid affiliations of many of the people and companies named in what is being called the "WikiLeaks of the mega-rich."

According to Süddeutsche Zeitung:

The data provides rare insights into a world that can only exist in the shadows. It proves how a global industry led by major banks, legal firms, and asset management companies secretly manages the estates of the world’s rich and famous: from politicians, Fifa officials, fraudsters and drug smugglers, to celebrities and professional athletes.

That’s a big charge. But with 11.5 million files, there’s a lot of dirt on a whole lot of people.

Perhaps the biggest fish in this corrupt pond actually isn’t directly named in any of the documents, but he sure has plenty of close associates who are.

That big fish is Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to British newspaper The Guardian:

A network of secret offshore deals and vast loans worth $2bn has laid a trail to Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin. An unprecedented leak of documents shows how this money has made members of Putin’s close circle fabulously wealthy.

Though the president’s name does not appear in any of the records, the data reveals a pattern — his friends have earned millions from deals that seemingly could not have been secured without his patronage. The documents suggest Putin’s family has benefited from this money — his friends’ fortunes appear his to spend.

The report in The Guardian is well worth reading, as is the report on Süddeutsche Zeitung. Both go into much more detail on the elaborate scheme to funnel funds by known Putin associates and friends out of Russia … then into Switzerland, and Cyprus in ways that generated so-called "consultancy" charges and other payments worth millions of dollars.

According to a money-laundering expert quoted at the website Newser:

"This is not business, this is creating the appearance of business in order to continually move and hide assets."

Some of Putin’s alleged deals involve his best friend, cellist Sergei Roldugin, who reportedly controls some $100 million in assets.

Other high-profile world leaders named in the Panama Papers as having been linked to offshore accounts handled by Mossack Fonseca include former Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Alaa Mubarak, the son of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson.

News of the scandal has Gunnlaugsson in the hot seat already. He is expected to face calls in Parliament for a snap election following the news.

Other culprits named in the Panama Papers as having offshore accounts managed by Mossack Fonseca include Uruguayan lawyer Juan Pedro Damiani, a member of the FIFA ethics committee (World Cup soccer’s professional organization).

Damiani had apparently given legal assistance for multiple offshore companies linked to former FIFA official Eugenio Figueredo. Figueredo currently is under investigation for fraud and money laundering.

Now, what we do have to keep in mind here is that just having an offshore account managed by Mossack Fonseca is not a crime.

Moreover, Mossack Fonseca is vigilant in its own defense, issuing a statement on the leaks saying:

"For 40 years Mossack Fonseca has operated beyond reproach in our home country and in other jurisdictions where we have operations … Our firm has never been accused or charged in connection with criminal wrongdoing."

While this is true — and while just having an offshore account isn’t unlawful — it would be naïve to think that these accounts cannot be abused, and easily used to help conceal criminal and/or otherwise scandalous criminal activity.

I am sure there will continue to be a lot of fallout from this Panama Papers leak … especially with the benefit of time and scores of investigative journalists sifting through the mass of data.

One thing we can say for certain here …

Global elites are using offshore accounts to move money around the world. And that means the chances of corruption are rife.

***

Do the revelations in the Panama Papers surprise you? Do they disturb you? Do you think there is a lot more corruption using offshore accounts than has been reported in the leak so far?

I’m interested in your thoughts on this subject, so let me know what’s on your mind by leaving me a comment on our website or by sending me an e-mail.

***

Stocks traded just below the flat line for most of the day as oil continued to skid lower. West Texas Intermediate crude gave up 3% in today’s session. Materials and industrial stocks were the biggest losers on the day.

Elsewhere in the news …

•  Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said they should raise rates sooner than the market expects. Rosengren is typically considered an interest rate "dove." So this hawkish view was a rather surprising statement from him, and the markets reacted accordingly.

•  Another day, another merger. Foxconn, which makes hardware for Sony and Apple, is said to be looking to get more business from the Cupertino company, which also uses screens from Sharp. And as of today’s news, Foxconn now has a controlling interest in Sharp, after the companies inked a $3.5 billion deal.

•  Alaska Air (ALK) is looking to buy Virgin America (VA) for $57 a share (about $4 billion). VA shares, well, soared on the news — rising almost 42% even after Sir Richard Branson said he felt "sadness" about the consolidation.

•  Disney (DIS) shares are down in after-market trading on news that a top executive, Chief Operating Officer Thomas Staggs, is stepping down on May 6. The New York Times wrote that Staggs was the "heir apparent" to the company. No replacement is reportedly in place at this time.

•  Tesla (TSLA) may have gotten nearly 300,000 pre-orders for the Model 3, but it’s fallen behind on its planned Q1 deliveries of the Model X. Shares gained 4% during the day but are down some 3% in after-market trading on the news.

Good Luck and Happy Investing,

Brad Hoppmann

Publisher

Uncommon Wisdom Daily

Your thoughts on “‘Panama Papers’ Link Putin, Global Elites & Corruption”

  1. I have a saying that is able to be used on a daily basis:

    People Are No Damn Good ! We maybe there is one or two good ones….somewhere

  2. So tired of the continuous Putin bashing. Nowhere is he or his family personally named however David Cameron, the UK prime ministers father is named and not a mention anywhere. Seems like poor journalism to me

  3. I find it incredibly hard to believe that there isn’t a single American CEO or Political elite tucked away in all of this mess…

  4. I have a membership with Uncommon Wisdom. Will I get this advise or do you want me to pay more for this advise?

    MJGuccione

  5. Could this be a set up by the US govt. to garner popular support at home to enact further capitol controls on its citizens by prohibiting offshore accounts of any kind or something equally onerous ?

  6. Do I think there was corrupt activity involved with some of the activity? Absolutely. But the lawyer is correct. It is cheap mudslinging to imply wrongdoing for doing what is legal but could be used for evil. There is corrupt activity involved with the use of automobiles in my city, criminals use them all the time. A kitchen knife can be used for evil. But offshore activity may help productive but oppressed people outrun crazy evil governments around the planet. A sprint to see which of them can make the money disappear first… And huge companies pay minimum taxes legally by these very means and pass the savings to shareholders.

  7. Very Interesting, but I notice that no high profile figures in the USA are named in your email, sounds like another reason given by a paid source for us to “believe’ that our Elites are actually good people but the rest of the world is suspect.

  8. Once again we see that the only person who spoke out against the free trade agreement with Panama was Bernie Sanders. Look online and you will hear him state that Panama will become a huge depository for illegal monies. The man is so prescient. I know you folks at Uncommon Wisdom are republicans, but you cannot deny the truth he tells the American people. This country needs to wake up to the corruption everywhere and seek the ethical and moral high ground. We need to clean up our own backyard and stop making it easy for monied elites to swindle the American people.

  9. These are the people who choose who we get to vote for. The people who rule from on high & want us to believe that their decisions are better for us than our own. Those who bring us globalism for our own good & no matter how we may feel about it. Time to wake up!

    Who are the 441 clients, 3,072 companies, 211 beneficiaries and 3,467 U.S.-based shareholders of the Panamanian law firm that are based in the USA?

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-04-04/mossack-fonseca-has-441-us-clients-who-are-they

  10. How could anyone be surprised? Corruption and greed coming into the light is only the tip of the iceberg.

  11. “Do the revelations in the Panama Papers surprise you?”
    * No
    “Do they disturb you?”
    *Yes
    “Do you think there is a lot more corruption using offshore accounts than has been reported in the leak so far?”
    * Don’t get me started!! 🙂

  12. Honest people don’t jump through hoops like having offshore accounts.
    The problem is twofold: (1) Politicians are too greedy to spend OPM, and (2) people are too greedy to share.

  13. Please don’t fall into the trap of focusing on the individuals that benefitted from this. The international system of havens for dirty money, laundered money, terrorist money, untaxed money is not an abberation of the system….it is an integral part of the system of predatory capitalism that we live in. Unfortunately Brad, you have contributed to it’s existence by continuing to argue against regulation of any kind. Without regulation and rules of the game, we have a system of “might makes right” . The financial power of elite individuals and multi-national corporations has gamed the system and they ain’t looking out for us little guys. A truly free market has rules, regulations, transparency and legally binding procedures that attempt to level the playing field for all players. To pretend that we have a “free market” is a lie and a cruel joke on the vast majority of the world’s citizens.

  14. HI BRAD,

    LORD KNOWS, GOD KNOWS, IS THIS NOT WHAT WE HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT FOR YEARS!!! THE GLOBAL ELITES RIPPING OFF OF THE HARD WORKING GLOBAL MIDDLE CLASS!!! My question to you is, how do you get up every morning knowing how corrupt the financial and investment industry you cover is ??????

  15. So far, all the names I have seen have been of politicians and other ultra-wealthy or famous people from nations other than the USA. Given that there is essentially no chance that Mossack Fonseca was not handling accounts for a lot of prominent US politicians and Wall Street movers and shakers, if we do not see a bunch of these also publicized in the next few weeks, then I will have to conclude that this is kind of a false-flag attack against off-shore accounts in general, and would absolutely expect to see legislation introduced in Congress to “do something about it”.

    It makes me wonder if an economic hit man bribed some insider at Mossack Fonseca with a few million dollars to send out the list, after scrubbing it of all names with US addresses. If this is the case, it would be absolutely hilarious to see the uproar if some other “insider” spilled the beans on all the US politician account holders there, after giving them time to make a lot of grossly hypocritical public statements first.

  16. As you stated, secret accounts are no surprise; this merely confirms what is commonly held to be true. The very rich have avenues available to them that are unavailable to the “common” people. If they are not illegal, it’s only because that same power group is in control of the lawmaking process.

    Hopefully, bringing such information “into the light” will apply pressure to close the loopholes and level the landscape.

    PS. What I do find surprising is the absence of America’s elite from the names mentioned. I assume we Americans are well represented.

  17. I believe an even more pressing problem is that major corporations are sheltering profits offshore to avoid paying taxes in America. In a globalized economic system, it would seem that there needs to be a treaty among as many countries as possible that sheltering earnings from taxes will not be tolerated. It may be harder to apply this to individuals ( especially when they are high level government officials) but corruption is running rampant and the global community cannot achieve anything like “justice for all” unless it is stopped. Trust is the basis for civilization and it is being gradually eroded by the moneyed class.

  18. I have no problem with people having secret accounts. The one problem I do have is that many of these account holders receive U.S. aid ($40 B per year total). We even provide U.S. aid to Russia and China. So my question would be……how much of this hidden money is siphoned off of U.S. aid….i.e., how much comes from hard pressed U.S. taxpayers??

  19. google-Zionist owners of federal reserve, Zionist owners of the media. these are the most corrupt and vicious of the so-called elite. they release info on anyone who bucks them. Russia and Iceland both kicked the corrupt banksters out of their countries. America should do the same. remember, it was an Israeli firm that helped the fbi hack apple. they are very good at anything that furthers their wicked ambitions. jesus called the moneychangers a den of thieves. they are still the same. look up usury and you will see exactly what central banks worldwide are

  20. Just another nail in th coffin of what is right and fair where a small international elite feel that they are above the law and can flout international and national laws concerning graft fraud and money laundering

  21. Just more of the globalist trying to isolate Putin because he isn’t a part of their plan. From what I read/hear Putin is never mentioned by name in the leak yet he is mostly the only one named on media reports. This tells me this is a smear job of globalist proportions.

  22. Are there no americans on the list? Why mention only foreign leaders and why only politicians?

  23. You ask if I am surprised by these money laundering shenanigans. Money stolen by politicians from their hapless taxpayers and citizens. Who could have possibly predicted such a preposterous notion? /sarcasm off

  24. I’m not surprised by these “revelations”, nor by the chest thumping hypocrisy of the media as they report this story. As you point out, having an account in another country is not illegal, and almost all of the account holders do nothing illegal. This will result in overreactions by governments (especially the real crooks in Washington). The solution is simple….cut taxes and regulations.

  25. I’m interesting in the best financial research available. Can you please send me some documentation that confirms your firm has some of the best research available to your subscribers? Thank you!

    Stan Jackson
    ebc@taxlater.com

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