IMPACT

Panama Papers investigations bring more than $700 million back onshore

Governments around the world have recouped more than $700 million in fines and back taxes as a result of the Panama Papers investigation, a new tally reveals.

Governments around the world have recouped more than $700 million in fines and back taxes as a result of the Panama Papers investigation, a new tally reveals.

An additional $182 million has been clawed back in Germany and Australia, adding to more than $500 million previously recouped globally because of the 2016 investigation.

ICIJ German partners Süddeutsche Zeitung reported in April that German authorities had collected 140 million euros ($171 million.) Research by ICIJ media partners NDR, WDR and Süddeutsche Zeitung found that more than 2,000 official investigations were underway and 71 criminal cases  had been initiated.

“North Rhine-Westphalia alone received 100 million euros in fines from banks and financial institutions that had contributed to tax evasion,” Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote.“Through tax repayments, the country received another 17.5 million euros.”

In May, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) reported to parliament the completion so far of 315 reviews and audits sparked by the Panama Papers.

In 2018, the ATO recorded the recovery of $11 million more to add to $37 million already recouped since April 2016. “We’ve got three individuals who are under criminal investigations at the moment, resulting from the work we’ve done,” the tax office told ICIJ.

The overall amount collected worldwide is likely to keep growing as other countries continue  audits on the basis of the Panama Papers information. Australia’s tax office has 81 ongoing probes, while Canada’s revenue agency has confirmed 123 audits and several criminal investigations.

Earlier this year, Mossack Fonseca, the offshore law firm whose 11.5 million leaked files were at the heart of the Panama Papers investigation, closed.

Last week, ICIJ published a new series of articles based on Mossack Fonseca documents obtained after the publication of the 2016 investigation.

The new leak of information revealed tax and criminal inquiries to the law firm from authorities around the world, including India, France, Australia, Panama, the United Kingdom.

The new documents also showed the reactions to the leak of bankers, accountants and lawyers who, along with Mossack Fonseca, helped the rich and famous avoid or reduce taxes through offshore companies.

One unhappy lawyer who had used Mossack Fonseca’s services for years complained that the Panama Papers investigation resulted in exactly what secretive offshore companies were designed to avoid.

“Thanks to Mossack,” he wrote in January 2017, “customers have to pay income taxes.”

Do you know a government that has recouped more money following the Panama Papers? Let us know!

FinCEN Files
AWARDS

Lessons from award-winning FinCEN Files and Luanda Leaks investigations

Jul 23, 2021
European Parliament and EU flag
FINCEN FILES

EU to propose watchdog to tackle anti-money laundering failures exposed by FinCEN Files

Jul 16, 2021
Protesters in London outside the Chinese Embassy
CHINA CABLES

As global pressure over human rights abuses in Xinjiang picks up, China remains defiant 

Jul 15, 2021
MONEY LAUNDERING

On the decline since Panama Papers, Malta punished for dirty money reputation

Jul 08, 2021
Isabel dos Santos and Sindika Dokolo
LUANDA LEAKS

Dutch court sides with report calling dos Santos-linked energy deal an ‘act of corruption’

Jun 28, 2021
Dubai
MIDDLE EAST

Facing global pressure, UAE to begin fining violators of new corporate transparency rules

Jun 21, 2021
ICIJ is dedicated to ensuring all reports we publish are accurate. If you believe you have found an inaccuracy let us know.