Panama Papers: Why International Leaders Are Resigning

Panama Papers: Why International Leaders Are Resigning

Over 140 international leaders linked to unethical tax havens.

Why are international figures resigning? I have two words for you: Panama Papers. If that doesn’t ring a bell, don’t worry, it will soon be a household name as large as Edward Snowden. Mossack Fonseca is a law firm that holds the title of being the fourth largest in the world that manages offshore services. In layman’s terms, tax havens. By charging only a couple thousand dollars a year Mossack Fonseca as acted for over 300,000 companies many of which have ties to the UK but extend as far as North Korea, China, Russia, Iran, Ukraine and the United States.

A German newspaper by the name of Süddeutsche Zeitung was the first to receive over 11.5 million documents (2.6 terabytes) worth of documents that displayed, in detail, how the wealthy avoid taxes and hide trillions of dollars. The leak of 1.7 million NSA documents by Edward Snowden is minuscule compared to this leak -- 85% smaller to be exact.

When talking about data leaks, sometimes it is hard to understand how massive they truly are. To break down how large of a leak this is I will compare it to your cell phone. Most phones range from 8gb to 32gb worth of memory. That includes every photo, screenshot, Snapchat videos you have on your phone right now. Let’s assume that you have a 32gb phone it would take 81 cell phones filled with documents. That is 81 iPhone 6’s full of incriminating data. However, it is important to note that offshore structures are not illegal. Many of the services provided are used for reasons of estate and inheritance planning or to defend them from criminal raids.

Süddeutsche Zeitung since receiving the documents has provided access to both The Guardian and BBC. Both of these sources have provided amazing visual and articles if you are interested in catching up on reports including Iceland PM Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson resignation and the 2 billion dollar trail that is linked to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

As of right now The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has reported that 140 politicians from 50 countries are connected to offshore tax havens. Some of these individuals include the president of Argentina, the president of Ukraine, the King of Saudi Arabia and a former government minister in France.

Reports show (4/15) that Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif fled the to London after ties to offshore accounts raised calls for his resignation. Although, he fled due to a “cardio medical check up,” he is not expected to return to Pakistan until outcry dies down.

José Manuel Soria, the now former Spanish Minister of Industry, stepped down on Friday (4/15) due to pressure about his offshore holdings. Although, no criminal allegations are being made, Soria denied any connection to Panama or tax havens stating “the succession of mistakes committed along the past few days, relating to my explanations over my business activities… and considering the obvious harm that this situation is doing to the Spanish government.” is the reason for his resignation.

RT reported (4/21) that former president Bill Clinton and his wife, current presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton have received donations that date back decades from several families that have appeared in the Panama Papers. Two of the five names listed include Ng Lap Seng, a Chinese businessman, who was arrested last year for illegally sending 4.5 million dollars to the DNC for the Clintons to use for their campaign in the 90’s. A second is Marc Rich who was facing 65 criminal charges but was pardoned on Bill’s last day of office in 2001 after receiving millions of dollars in campaign donations.

World-renowned soccer player Lionel Messi is also found in the papers. Lionel and his father are named as an owner of Panama-based company Mega Star Enterprises, and he is the current target of large scale tax evasion from the Spanish government.

Preet Bharara, who is the US Attorney for Manhattan, announced the US criminal investigation “regarding matters to which the Panama Papers are relevant”. The letter was made public which directly asked the ICIJ who has access to the leak documents for help progress the investigation.

Follow-Up Research:

BBC: 27-minute podcast

BBC: Panama Papers

ICIJ Panama Papers

The Guardian: Panama Papers

Cover Image Credit: The Next Web

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?


Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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