THE ANONYMOUS WHISTLEBLOWER behind one of the biggest data leaks in history has reached out to international authorities, offering to help governments prosecute tax evaders in exchange for immunity.
Writing on the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) website, ‘John Doe’ explained why he leaked millions of documents belonging to Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, now commonly known as the Panama Papers.
Over 11 million documents belonging to the law firm were leaked and reviewed by a team of more than 370 journalists from 76 countries, and allegedly show how the legal services company has aided its clients in evading tax, dodging sanctions and laundering billions in cash over nearly 40 years, from 1977 to 2015.
Mossack Fonseca denies any wrongdoing.
‘Utterly failed’ to address tax havens
In a statement called ‘The revolution will be digitized’ the anonymous source cites income inequality as his motive for making the documents available, labelling it as ‘one of the defining issues of our time’.
“For fifty years, executive, legislative, and judicial branches around the globe have utterly failed to address the metastasizing tax havens spotting Earth’s surface.
“I decided to expose Mossack Fonseca because I thought its founders, employees and clients should have to answer for their roles in these crimes, only some of which have come to light thus far.”
The source added: “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.”
John Doe, whose identity is still under wraps and who denies working for any government or intelligence agency, has offered to provide governments with the documents in exchange for immunity.
“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.”
UK has much more to do
In the statement, the whistleblower targeted the United Kingdom as a nation that needs to do more in order to crackdown on financial crimes.
Since the Panama Papers surfaced, the UK has leaped into action to ease public fears over widespread tax evasion.
In April, David Cameron announced that he was bringing forward plans to introduce a new criminal offence for corporations that fail to take adequate steps to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion.
Just days after Cameron’s announcement, chancellor George Osborne declared that the UK, along with Spain, Germany, France and Italy, have agreed to automatically share information on the ultimate owners of companies and trusts.
“The United Kingdom can be proud of its domestic initiatives thus far, but it still has a vital role to play by ending financial secrecy on its various island territories, which are unquestionably the cornerstone of institutional corruption worldwide.”
In the meantime before the whistleblower begins aiding any governments that ask for his help, he has called on the European Commission, the British parliament and the United States congress to protect whistleblowers and “to put an end to the global abuse of corporate registers”.
The informer concedes that it could take “years, possibly decades” before we understand the full extent of Mossack Fonseca’s “sordid acts”.
“In the meantime, a new global debate has started, which is encouraging. Unlike the polite rhetoric of yesteryear that carefully omitted any suggestion of wrongdoing by the elite, this debate focuses directly on what matters.”
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