Verum was feeling extremely drowsy. She had stayed up all night, engrossed in a game-changing piece of news. There was so much to it, so many layers that by the time she realized it was getting late, the sun was already making its way up the horizon. Verum yawned.
Orak said, “Verum, I have heard so much about something called ‘Pandora Papers’. Everyone is talking about it. But what is it? Could you check with your crystal ball?”
Verum said, “Oh, my MysticLord! It is big news. I was up all night reading about it in detail.”
“Wow, I can’t wait to know more,” said Orak, “Scorch, Felix, you should listen to this too!”
“The Pandora Papers is a leak of almost 12 million documents. A leak is a term used when confidential (intended to remain a secret) information is intentionally made public. The Pandora Papers include about 6.4 million documents, almost three million images, more than a million emails, and almost half a million spreadsheets,” said Verum.
Her friends expressed shock over the information and asked Verum to continue.
“All these documents reveal the hidden wealth of the world’s rich and powerful. Some of it is legal, while some of it involves avoiding taxes and even money laundering. This list includes 330 politicians from 90 countries such as the King of Jordan, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair, and many many more.”
Orak added, “Money laundering is a process in which large amounts of money obtained through illegal means are made to appear legal. That means such money is shown to have been earned through legitimate or legal means.”
“The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) obtained the data in Washington D.C. Since then, it has been working with 140 media organizations,” explained Verum, “Over 600 journalists from 117 countries have been sifting through the information for months. This is ICIJ’s biggest ever global investigation.”
“What has been revealed?” said Scorch.
“How some of the most powerful people in the world use secret ways to hide their wealth,” replied Verum, “In Pandora Papers, these ways are through companies. People from one nation have used foreign companies or offshore companies to hide money or evade tax. Simply put, they set up companies across borders in countries or territories where starting a new company is easy. Moreover, certain laws also make it difficult to identify owners of companies. And there is no or low corporation tax. Corporation tax is a tax on a company’s profit.”
“Oh, is that illegal?” said Felix.
“It’s not illegal but it is often considered unethical or morally wrong,” explained Verum, “Offshore companies are often legal ways of avoiding taxes. But responsible citizens pay their taxes. Moreover, these companies can be used to hide money earned through illegal means.”
“I see, I see,” replied Felix.