Panama Papers

Bad For Leaders, Good For You

Taxes are due today—what a bummer. You work hard all year just to have The Government—an army of faceless pencil-pushing bureaucrats holed up in dirty D.C. cubicles, take money out of your pocket. Terrible.

If only there was a way to circumvent the whole ugly process. Well, there is, and it’s so legally gray it makes 50 Shades look bland.

First, you need to ask your lawyer to incorporate an offshore company in one of the world’s glamourous tax haven nations and transfer any money you want protected. To avoid any annoying inquiries about your new company, you’ll want a little extra distance from your shady holdings. Ask a friend or relative to be your nominee shareholder for the company. This person will hold your shares for you and put their name on official documents.

Finally, you’ll need to name an ultimate beneficial owner for the company’s records. If you do business in Panama as most of the global elite do, your law firm will nominate a Panamanian citizen all for a measly annual fee of $15 thousand.

Pretty easy. Right?

Oh, you and every other poor schmuck don’t make enough to justify paying the annual fee? Well then, you better bite the bullet and pay your taxes. Come back when you want to protect your fortunes from the grimy hands of the tax man.

Word of caution: avoid using Mossack Fonseca for all of your wealth sheltering needs. The Panama based law firm had its clientele listing leaked to the public recently, and hoo boy there are some big names.

Over 140 politicians, numerous sports and entertainment personalities, and four current heads-of-state were named in the massive 2.6 terabyte leak aptly named—the Panama Papers.

Perhaps most notably, Vladimir Putin and his friends are tied to offshore assets totaling two billion. You’d think such a nationalistic personality like Putin would want everyone keep wealth in the country and pay taxes—have to maintain that military right?vladimir-putin-193783_640

Alongside Putin, cousins of Bashar Assad—human butcher and President of Syria, and Ian Cameron, father of outspoken-critic-of-tax-shelters U.K. PM David Cameron, are named in the leak. Assad and Cameron have yet to step down because of this scandal, though to be fair I think the former is past the point of caring about public opinion.

In Iceland though heads have rolled. The PM stepped down due to his connections with offshore shell companies. Mark my words, it’s not an isolated incident. As tensions boil over in Europe and the privilege gap between the wealthy and poor is exposed, more politicians careers will be staked and roasted.

So far, no U.S. politicians have been implicated in the leak, leading to some speculation that the ICIJ—International Consortium of Investigative Journalists isn’t reporting on the issue fairly. Some journalists handling the documents have tweeted that U.S. names will be forthcoming, and I for one, cannot wait. It’ll be open season out there. Outrage will rule and reputations will be ruined.

In America, this leak could have some lasting political implications. Inequality and political revolution have been at the forefront of political discussion for a while now. The Panama Papers just provide more hard proof to believers of the corruption and the greedy that they’re trying so hard to combat.

Originally Published in The Scarlet

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