The Panama Papers - What You Need to Know - Carlos GaminoBy Carlos Gamino

Few people in the United States haven’t heard about the Panama Papers—unless, of course, they don’t have social media accounts filled with conspiracy theories and finger-pointing.

So what are the Panama Papers?

The Panama Papers are documents involved in one of the largest leaks ever (even bigger than the information shared by Edward Snowden).

Nearly 11.5 million confidential documents were leaked from a Panama-based law firm called Mossack Fonseca, a firm whose website says that it offers “research, advice and services” to a number of countries, including the UK, the U.S., and The Netherlands.

The confidential documents date back to 1977, and an anonymous source contacted a German newspaper claiming that he or she simply wanted to make the crimes the firm was responsible for committing public knowledge. The newspaper shared the records with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, who researched the documents and pulled out several names, including:

  • K. Prime Minister David Cameron
  • Prime Minister David Gunnlaugsson of Iceland (who recently resigned over the scandal)
  • Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan
  • King Salman bin Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al Saud of Saudi Arabia
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin

Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton hasn’t gone unscathed, either. Reports have surfaced that the Clintons have ties to several of the names in the leaked documents, including staffers and major donors.

The presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump, didn’t escape unscathed, either. His name appears 3,540 times in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ database, although because he’s sold his name and reputation to several investors over the years, it may not necessarily link him to offshore accounts.

What Do You Think?

Names are still surfacing, and 29 of the billionaires outed so far were at one point on a Forbes Magazine list of the world’s 500 richest people.

Do you think the Panama Papers scandal will have any effect on the 2016 election, or will it all fade away as the candidates ramp up their attacks against each other? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so share them on my Facebook page or on Twitter.

Carlos Gamino