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Mossack Fonseca leak prompts global compliance crackdown

Joe Mont | April 18, 2016

Nothing greases the squeaky wheels of government quite like a scandal.

More than 370 journalists in 80 countries took part in a year-long effort to parse through a massive trove of leaked files (the “Panama Papers”) from the Panama-headquartered law firm Mossack Fonseca, a firm that for more than four decades was at the center of facilitating shell companies, offshore tax shelters, and secret trusts for wealthy and politically connected individuals around the world.

Even in these initial days of the data leak, a lot has happened—much of it in the category of posterior-covering optics. President Juan Carlos Varela of Panama, after years of turning a deaf ear to complaints about his nation’s reputation as a go-to destination for creating shell companies, now promises to convene an independent committee—one that includes Columbia University’s Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz—to review his nation’s financial practices and improve transparency. Panamanian...

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