Graphic: Tim Meko
Graphic: Tim Meko

Secrecy for Sale

Key Findings

  • 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 ChinaAzerbaijan, 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.

Read more
Inside Secrecy for Sale
Interactive: Stash Your Cash
April 2, 2013 — Recent leaks of secret banking information have helped authorities around the world crack down on tax cheats who go offshore, resulting in…
Inside Secrecy for Sale
How ICIJ’s Project Team Analyzed the Offshore Files
The ICIJ’s exploration of the secretive world of offshore companies and trusts began after a computer hard drive packed with corporate data and personal information and e-mails arrived in the mail.
Inside Secrecy for Sale
Ferdinand Marcos’ Daughter Tied to Offshore Trust in Caribbean
Records show late dictator’s oldest child, now a Philippine provincial governor, didn’t disclose British Virgin Islands trust in asset declarations required for public officials.