Panama Papers leak reveals firms' roles

April 4, 2016 A trove of documents from a Panama law firm is being called the Panama Papers, after shining some embarrassing light on several national leader, politicians and their families and close associates. The documents numbered in the millions and were leaked from Mossack Fonseca.

The leaked documents show how 143 people, including 12 national leaders, have been using offshore companies to minimize their tax liabilities. The papers reveal names including Ian Cameron, late father of British Prime Minister David Cameron and UAE president Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Some recognized law firms have been identified in connection with those dealings as well. Simmons & Simmons was involved with dealings that traced to Ian Cameron and Holman Fenwick Willan was an adviser to Al Nahyan. Taylor Wessing partner Andrew Hine also communicated with Mossack Fonseca on behalf of Baroness Pamela Sharples, a Conservative member of the House of Lords.

The activities revealed do not suggest illegal activities. However, many people may feel that leaders in society should not evade their own countries' tax laws for personal gain. The ethical questions around the activity and embarrassment for the leaders may lead to renewed calls for reform.

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