In October of 2021, as a result of the largest leak of documents in history, 11.9 million files from over 2.94 terabytes of data were publicly released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists [ICIJ].
Concerning assets and individuals across the globe, this leak identified the financial affairs of more than 100 billionaires, 30 world leaders and 300 public officials. This leak is reminiscent of the Panama Papers released back in 2016 [ICIJ].
The Pandora Papers were published under the script of providing transparency on the use of “offshore” tax havens, which are utilized in order to mitigate taxes and secure privacy around one’s financial affairs. Included in the data were several high-profile individuals mired by controversy [Reuters].
Though the scope of this leak concerned “offshore” locations, the United States was likewise implicated in several tax-friendly jurisdictions. The most prominent of these was South Dakota, but they also included Florida, Delaware, Texas, and Nevada. The Pandora Papers identified 206 U.S. trusts linked to 41 countries holding assets worth more than $1 billion [ICIJ].
As the ICIJ notes, being named in the Pandora Papers is in no way synonymous with alleging the individuals identified conducted illegal activity. The use of offshore or domestic tax-friendly jurisdictions is both legal and accepted, if done correctly. Even so, being named in the Pandora Papers is bound to create controversy, and invites public and government speculation. Of the trusts named in the Pandora Papers, nearly 30 of the ones based in the U.S. have been identified as connected to individuals or companies accused of fraud, bribery or human rights abuses.
As specialists in Estate Planning and Trusts, The Burton Law Firm is actively monitoring the Pandora Papers and staying abreast of any changes in the law that may come from this leak. Please note that The Burton Law Firm represents individuals of all backgrounds and walks of life, having a firm foothold in both domestic and international communities. In short, none of The Burton Law Firm’s clients were affected by the data leak, and we continue to maintain the highest grade of professional responsibility and upholding attorney-client confidentiality.
For more information, visit the source of the leak at: https://www.icij.org/investigations/pandora-papers/ or email the Burton Law Firm at firstname.lastname@example.org.