7 April 2016
The story of the 'Panama Papers’ leaks have captured world headlines in recent days. The leaked information is a major breakthrough for tax justice and anti-corruption advocates, and impacts various groups around the world, from the political scene in Iceland, to struggling small-business owners in Nigeria.
Gabriel Zucman, an economics professor at UC Berkeley, estimates that the money in offshore tax havens totals at least $7.6 trillion. That’s upward of 8 percent of all the world’s financial wealth, and it’s growing fast. Zucman estimates that offshore wealth has surged about 25 percent over the past five years.
The Panama Papers should be seen as another marker as to why genuine financial transparency is needed. One simple step that some governments are already taking is to create public registries that disclose a company’s beneficial owners—the real person or people actually in control. With registers of this information, the secrecy that Mossack Fonseca and countless other firms sell would become far less attractive.
Further suggestions can be found at the tax justice network website