5 April 2016

I propose to rename the Panama Papers to the Panama Cigar. Paper burns quickly and is gone in a moment; a Panama cigar on the other hand, burns very slowly, just as I predict this story will.

What has so far been released is likely 100th of 1% of what they have – they will drip feed years’ worth of stories from the 11.4 million leaked files. panamapapers

I was hardly surprised to see the leak; it was just a matter of time before something like this surfaced. Momentum around the outrage of tax avoidance and evasion has been building for some time.

The scale of the leak, however, is quite astonishing! And it is extremely impressive to see how it was handled by the media. They certainly got all of their ducks in a row working together in this consortium. Normally when a negative story hits the press, the lawyers scramble and quite quickly the media are unable to talk about it. But, on this occasion, the media have worked together, they’ve prepared and they’ve sat on this story so long to make sure that the lawyers can’t stifle it.

Whilst it’s interesting because of the extraordinary names on the list – country leaders, famous people, etc. – there will also be people that no one has heard of who are now looking at going to prison. One thing is for sure, there will be people all over the globe who are terrified.

Aside from its customers, the company itself has a lot to answer to. According to The Guardian the firm’s co-founder Jürgen Mossack helped hide millions of pounds linked to Britain’s biggest gold heist – they looked after the money that they were laundering.

The media will savour every moment. The people that they have over a barrel are the people who are controlling the media.

I do wonder how big the iceberg is, if this is just the tip. Wikipedia piqued my interest, with a UK HMRC has been given info about various tax-free zones so it could be one of many – not just Panama. It’s a serious business and people go to prison for it.

It’s clear according to the British papers that David Cameron’s Dad has broken the rules. Ian Cameron was a director of Blairmore Holdings Inc., which, according to The Guardian, has never paid a penny of tax in the UK on its profits. It was founded in the early 1980s.

Whether David Cameron is involved or not, which I think he should be transparent about, it could be said that the money that his Dad has made has helped him throughout his life, and is, perhaps what funded his school fees. Would he be in that position without that funding? I don’t think so. Should even the most staunch Conservatives now be questioning whether Cameron is the right to lead the party and the country?

We have been offered tax schemes so many times but I love that I go to bed at night guilt free and I am proud to be a taxpayer.

The damage that these tax-dodging businesses are doing to our country isn’t limited to the money that they’re not paying. This is muddying the waters between the criminal underworld and business. How can there be trust in big businesses when so many are revealed to be breaking the rules?
Meanwhile, it is the SMEs, the people, who are propping up our nation, while the big fat cats get fatter and then they preach about making the country fairer for all!

There’s much more to come from this and I watch the drip by drip reveal with growing interest.

What do you make of it all?

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