Tax dodging has hit the news again, this time with the biggest leak in history. 11 million files from Mossack Fonseca, a legal-financial firm in Panama, have outed dozens of world leaders, current and former, 100 media outlets and 500 banks as investing a total of at least £13 trillion in ‘overseas’ tax havens.
A great number of names among Britain’s elite are mentioned in the documents as holding taxes offshores, including six members of the House of Lords, two former Conservative MPs, a number of party political donors, Ian Cameron (Prime Minister David Cameron’s late father), and Coutts & Co (the Queen’s family bank). HSBC is featured as well, who a year ago was found to have helped 100,000 of the global elite in evading tax.
The current heads of state implicated are Nawaz Sharif, PM of Pakistan, Mauricio Macri, President of Argentina, Salman, King of Saudi Arabia, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine, and Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, the PM of Iceland, who has since resigned after mass public protest.
Barry Vitou, head of Pinsent Masons international law firm, has warned that these funds could be made public, saying, ‘This is the new now. Secrecy can no longer be guaranteed when these sort of things are happening.’
HM Revenue & Customs has also said they will ‘relentlessly pursue tax evaders’, though doubts exist as to whether convictions will occur, due to past failures regarding the Channel Islands.