The Miami Herald spent months investigating how people accused of wrongdoing abroad used offshore shell companies to buy South Florida real estate.
“Secret Shell Game” was based on an analysis of 11.5 million secret files from inside Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm.
For decades, the world’s wealthiest and most politically connected people have asked Mossack Fonseca to create offshore companies and other opaque corporate entities.
Confidential sources leaked the MF files to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which shared the records with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit.
ICIJ partnered with more than 100 news organizations around the world. The Miami Herald, its parent company McClatchy and the television networks Fusion and Univision were the only U.S. media outlets to help analyze the documents. The leaked records provide little indication that Mossack Fonseca asked questions about those who wanted offshore corporations. Although there are legitimate reasons to set up such companies, they can also facilitate asset stashing, money laundering and tax evasion. The investigation even found some companies had been used to procure oil and gas for the air force of Syria’s brutal Assad regime.