Panama Papers

IMPACT

Counting the Panama Papers money: how we reached $1.28 billion

More than $1.28 billion has been clawed back by governments around the world after the Panama Papers investigation in 2016.

In April, we reported that more than $1.2 billion had been recouped (it’s grown since then, more on that later) and the reaction was generally either:

“That sucks! It’s really just a drop in the ocean compared with the amount of tax people should have paid.”

or

“Wow! Great journalism really can make a difference.”

The next question we’re often asked: “but how did you get that number?”

I was one of a handful of people at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists who helped tally up that massive figure – asking our partners to get in touch with local tax authorities – it was eye-opening to see the detail of information we require to count it. I also nearly lost my hair, but realized one thing: our numbers are conservative, very nuanced, but always correct.

For example: often we are told off the record (which means we can’t report it) that tax authorities have indeed recouped money due to our investigations. But, for whatever reason, they don’t want to make that announcement public. This limits our ability to count it.

It also made me realize that some countries have recouped a lot more in comparison to the size of their nation. As one ICIJ partner told me when he announced the figure: “it may seem small, but it’s very important to a tiny country like ours!” (And, in many countries, it’s not about the money being recouped – perhaps it’s about the previously disclosed wealth that’s now getting taxed, or it’s about starting a conversation.)

After we reported the $1.2 billion figure, our partners in Italy L’Espresso revealed more than $33.7 million was now in the Italian authority’s bank thanks to the Panama Papers.

They definitely won’t be the last.

To help lift the veil on how we reached that $1.28 billion figure, we have carefully (more hair was lost, trust me) broken down the tally country by country.  (If you know about something that we’ve missed, let me know! Email: awilsonchapman@icij.org)

We have also included some of the newer official investigations our partners reported to us. This is not a conclusive list – as that would be a very, very long list. You can find more information about Panama Papers impact here.

And, please remember, while a country may have $0 listed as “money in the bank” this refers to money that has been publicly reported. Many nations will not make public the amount of money that has been recovered.

Argentina

Money in the bank: There are no official numbers released by the government in Argentina. (Last reported in 2019)

Notable developments:

  • $104 million was declared by citizens who entered a tax amnesty to start paying tax.
  • President Mauricio Macri’s brother, Gianfranco Macri, declared $4 million and an investigation into his finances was opened.
  • $65 million worth of U.S. properties that belonged to the secretary of the former president Nestor Kirchner was found by the Financial Intelligence Unit.

Media partners: La Nación, Diario Perfil, Infobae, Solo Local.info, Página 12

Australia

Money in the bank: $92,880,415 in liabilities and cash (Last reported in 2019)

Notable developments:

  • There were 53 audits and reviews still in progress on Feb. 28, 2019.

Media partners: The Australian Financial Review, ABC Australia

Austria

Money in the bank: $2,725,869 (Last reported in 2019)

Notable developments:

  • Two Austrian banks (Raiffeisen Bank International and the Hypo Vorarlberg) have been fined, but these cases are still going through the courts.
  • 54 taxpayers listed in the Panama Papers were reviewed.

Media partners: Falter, ORF

Belgium

Money in the bank: $18,749,010 (Last reported in 2019)

Media partners: Knack, Le Soir, Tijd, MO*

Bulgaria

Money in the bank: $0 (Last reported in 2019)

Notable developments:

  • The first criminal charges were filed in Bulgaria in late 2018 – married business owners Nikolay and Evgeniya Banevi have been charged for money laundering and tax offenses.

Media partners: 24Chasa

Canada

Money in the bank: $0 (Last reported in 2019)

Notable developments:

  • More than $11 million has been assessed – but not recovered (and not counted in our $1.2 billion).
  • 116 audits have been completed, but 300 people have been identified for audits in the future.
  • Less than 10 criminal investigations have been started.

Media partners: Toronto Star, CBC/Radio-Canada

Colombia

Money in the bank: $88,884,000 (Last reported in 2017)

Notable developments:

Media partners: Connectas, Consejo de Redacción

Czech Republic

Money in the bank: $36,462,741 (Last reported in 2017)

Media partners: Czech Center for Investigative Journalism

Denmark

Money in the bank: $47,500,000 (Last reported in 2019)

Notable developments:

  • $111.6 million in untaxed income was identified. The government has recouped $47.5 million from 155 individuals and companies so far. Investigations are ongoing.

Media partners: Politiken, DR

Ecuador

Money in the bank: $84,300,000 (Last reported in 2018)

Notable developments:

  • Petroecuador’s bribe scheme was the largest Panama Papers-related investigation in Ecuador. Seven people are in jail.

Media partners: El Universo, El Comercio

Finland

Money in the bank: $0 (Last reported in 2019)

Notable developments:

  • Authorities expect to recover between $1 and $2 million – but this related to Panama Papers and Paradise Papers. As this is yet to be recovered, it’s not included in our $1.2 billion.
  • The country has launched 20 investigations related to Panama Papers and Paradise Papers.

Media partners: YLE

France

Money in the bank: $135,696,000 (Last reported in 2019)

Notable developments:

  • Tax authorities have carried out more than 500 inspections.
  • There have been 305 requests for international administration assistance.

Media partners: Le Monde, Premières Lignes

Germany

Money in the bank: $183,193,536 (Last reported in 2019)

Notable developments:

  • Authorities have launched more than 860 investigations.

Media partners: NDR, Süddeutsche Zeitung, WDR

Hungary

Money in the bank: $0 (Last reported in 2019)

Media partners: Direkt36

Iceland

Money in the bank: $25,525,959 (Last reported in 2019)

Notable developments:

  • Authorities froze assets worth $8,508,653 in 2017 and 2018.
  • There have been 24 investigations related to the Panama Papers completed.

Media partners: Reykjavík Media

India

Money in the bank: $0 (Last reported in 2019)

Notable developments:

  • $225,431,400 worth of assets have been identified.
  • 75 searches/surveys have been carried out.
  • 30 criminal complaints filed.

Media partners: Indian Express

Ireland

Money in the bank: $452,320 (Last reported in 2019)
N.B.: This is a combination of money recouped due to the Panama Papers and ICIJ’s 2017 investigation, the Paradise Papers. So we do not include it in our $1.2 billion figure.

Notable developments:

  • Tax authorities issued more than 100 “enquiry letters” but 80% were closed without finding any issues.

Media partners: The Irish Times

Italy

Money in the bank: $33,697,840 (Last reported in 2019)

Notable developments:

  • Just after the investigation, 204 citizens used a voluntary disclosure program to disclose their offshore assets, worth about $33 million.
  • About 900 cases with links to the Panama Papers have been investigated.

Media partners: L’Espresso

Japan

Money in the bank: $0 (Last reported in 2019)

Media partners: Kyodo News, The Asahi Shimbun, NHK

Lithuania

Money in the bank: $358,831 (Last reported in 2019)

Notable developments:

  • Another $134,565 is still being disputed

Media partners: 15min

Luxembourg

Money in the bank: $2,393,837 (Last reported in 2017)

Media partners:

Malta

Money in the bank: $10,706,938 (Last reported in 2019)

Media partners: Times of Malta, The Malta Independent

Mexico

Money in the bank: $21,568,200 (Last reported in 2016) from the Panama Papers – this is included in our $1.2 billion total.

Notable developments:

  • In January last year, authorities also said more than $67,374,968 has been recovered from the Panama Papers, Bahamas Leaks and Paradise Papers – so this amount has not been included.
  • There was a January 2017 amnesty announced and 5,414 people or companies paid $1,036,537,963 tax on around $19.5 billion worth of assets.
  • 35 companies and 294 individuals exposed in Panama Papers have been investigated.

Media partners: Proceso, Aristegui

Netherlands

Money in the bank: $8,283,390 (Last reported in 2019)

Media partners: Trouw, Financieele Dagblad

New Zealand

Money in the bank: $410,400 (Last reported in 2019)

Media partners: Radio NZ, TVNZ

Norway

Money in the bank: $0 (Last reported in 2019)

Notable developments:

  • $32,453,960 identified in undisclosed wealth and income. From that our partners at Aftenposten estimated that $2,035,440 tax would be generated, but there has been no official statement.
  • 83 investigations were launched in total. 17 have led to penalties.

Media partners: Aftenposten

Panama

More than $1.2 billion has been recouped in 23 countries. (Dark Green). Investigations were sparked in more than 82 countries. (Light Green)

Money in the bank: $14,132,129 (Last reported in 2019)

Media partners: La Prensa

Poland

Money in the bank: $0 (Last reported in 2019)

Notable developments:

  • There was a taskforce set up after the investigation, but it has operated in secret.

Media partners: Gazeta Wyborcza

Slovenia

Money in the bank: $1,000,000 (Last reported in 2016)

Media partners: Delo

South Korea

Money in the bank: $0 (Last reported in 2019)

Notable developments:

  • Korea’s tax authorities say they have collected a considerable amount of tax, but are unwilling to make it public.
  • A multi-million dollar bribery case was launched in March 2019 indicting a former army general, according to Newstapa.

Media partners: KCIJ (Newstapa)

Spain

Money in the bank: $164,104,468 (Last reported in 2019)

Notable developments:

  • After the Panama Papers publication, 61 taxpayers declared $100,641,200.
  • 160 taxpayers in the Panama Papers have been investigated.
  • 100 court proceedings have been filed related to 75 taxpayers.

Media partners: El Confidencial, La Sexta

Sweden

Money in the bank: $19,295,056 (Last reported in 2017)

Media partners: SVT

United Kingdom

Money in the bank: $252,762,000 (Last reported in 2019)

Media partners: BBC Panorama, The Guardian

Uruguay

Money in the bank: $1,000,000 (Last reported in 2016)

Media partners: Búsqueda

 

Contributors to this story: Leo Sisti, Paolo Biondani, Emilia Diaz-Struck, Nina Selbo Torset, John Hansen, Minna Knus-Galán, Scilla Alecci, Johannes Kristjansson, Leo Sisti, Rita Vásquez, Monica Almeida, Jan Strozyk, Ulla Kramar-Schmid, Martijn Roessingh, Kristof Clerix, Marco Oved, Jacob Borg, Juliette Garside, Anne Michel, Will Fitzgibbon, Vadim Makarenko, Alexenia Dimitrova, Emiliana Garcia, Andras Petho, Yongjin Kim, Frederic Zalac, Marcos Garcia Rey, Mathieu Tourlliere, Yasuomi Sawa, Colm Keena, Mariel Fitz Patrick and Ritu Sarin.