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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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it


Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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American Or Christian?

Can you really be both?


This is a thought that has lingered in my mind for a very long time.

Personally, I hate news and politics. It's depressing and it seems like both parties (and people in general) just don't get it. Political conversation gets on my ever-loving nerves and literally gets me down in the dumps for the day.

I just simply don't watch it anymore. There is too much negativity.

That doesn't mean that I am uniformed. I am not advocating for ignorance or anything like that. I prefer to read and figure out my information from sites "in the middle."

As I was eating dinner with my wife the other day we started talking about the new Abortion laws in Alabama and Georgia. As a Christ-follower and a staunch defender of Biblical inerrant, I detest abortion.

Before you read any farther, you must understand something: This article is not about my defense of my beliefs regarding hot topics like abortion or homosexuality. I do not have the time to write about said topics now. I am just asking you to accept what I believe for the sake of the article.

But, anyway, these abortion bills. I can make a pretty good case that they are Constitutional because they are protecting the Life (one of the Rights given to American Citizens) from others. Yes, I know the arguments against said point but continue with me please.

This led our conversation to talk about Homosexual marriage, something that I am against as well. And not just because of Leviticus but because of the New Testament as well.

But, shaking my head, I said something that my wife seemed to agree with:

"As a Christian, I know it's wrong and I cannot agree with it. As an American, I see no reason why it should be illegal. Unless your choices infringe someone's Rights, you should be free to do what you wish (technically speaking)."

This is my dilemma. Well, actually it's not a dilemma. I know that I am a Christian before I am an American. I love this country greatly, and I know how blessed I am to be born here. For all the hate this country gets (and some of it is deserved) and all the problems we have (and we have a lot), we are shoulders above other countries in many ways. I am so thankful for all the men and women who have served to protect me and keep me safe. I'm thankful for a lot of things. And I am proud to be an American.

But my identity in Christ comes first. This is why I do not get into politics much. I don't really care at the end of the day. Because while America has been blessed, we still have work to do here. And this is not my forever home. This is not where I will spend eternity.

I try and respect everyone's opinions, and I earnestly try to love everyone, even when they trash and disrespect my beliefs and convictions. But I must put my call to Christ about anything that has to do with this nation. I will pray for ALL our leaders because I was told to do so (I prayed for President Obama when he was in office). And I will be here to support this nation. But I cannot put it above Christ's commands.

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