An ICIJ Investigation

Secrecy for Sale: Inside the Global Offshore Money Maze

Former top EU official among high profile names in a leak that reveals 175,000 offshore companies registered in the Bahamas.

  • Millions of leaked files from two financial service providers, a private bank in Jersey and the Bahamas corporate registry reveal how tax havens around the world are used to hide riches.
  • Government officials and their families and associates in China, Azerbaijan, Russia, Canada, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, Mongolia and other countries have embraced the use of covert companies and bank accounts.
  • The mega-rich use complex offshore structures to own mansions, yachts, art masterpieces and other assets, gaining tax advantages and anonymity not available to average people.
  • Many of the world’s top’s banks – including UBS, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank – have aggressively worked to provide their customers with secrecy-cloaked companies in the British Virgin Islands and other offshore hideaways.
  • A well-paid industry of accountants, middlemen and other operatives has helped offshore patrons shroud their identities and business interests, providing shelter in many cases to money laundering or other misconduct.
  • Ponzi schemers and other large-scale fraudsters routinely use offshore havens to pull off their shell games and move their ill-gotten gains.
Screenshot of the Offshore Leaks database
DATA DIVE

Search the Offshore Leaks Database

Now, for the first time, users can access corporate data from the Bahamas - including some politicians' offshore holdings - online for free.

By ICIJ
Jun 15, 2013

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