1. What’s this about?
2. How much data are we talking about?
No less than 11.5 million documents from 2.6 terabytes of data.
3. Where did it come from?
The internal database of the world’s most secretive companies, Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, the world’s fourth biggest provider of offshore services.
4. What does that mean?
The company helps clients protect their wealth in secretive offshore tax regimes.
Also, a well-known haven for offshore accounts.
5. What’s in the files?
The details of 214,000 companies incorporated by the firms.
6. What’s the time period?
The more than 11 million documents date from 1977 to December 2015.
7. What’s in the documents?
Cash transfers, incorporation dates, links between companies and individual.
8. And this shows what?
Basically a firm enabling people to play by different rules.
9. What do the documents illustrate?
How to help clients launder money, dodge sanctions and evade tax.
10. What is the cast of stars involved?
The leaked documents show links to 72 current or former heads of state, including dictators accused of looting their own countries.
11. Who are we talking about?
The families and associates of Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak, Libya’s former leader Muammar Gaddafi and Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad.
12. Any Ghanaians in there?
Yes, the reports mention sons of former Ghana president, John Agyekum Kufuor and United Nations General Secretary, Kofi Annan.
13. Really? How?
Well, according to the report, the Mossack Fonseca law firm operated an offshore account to the tune of $75,000 for J.A. Kufuor’s son, John Addo Kufuor, who kept his mother, Theresa Kufuor as the main beneficiary. Juicy huh?
The report also detailed how the same company was used to purchase a $500,000 apartment in London for Kojo Annan, son of Kofi Annan. Kojo Annan’s lawyer has however responded to the issue citing no wrongdoing.
14. How can this not be illegal?
You see offshore companies are not necessarily illegal to use or operate. BOOM. Setting up offshore is not illegal. However, withholding information about your offshore investments is illegal in some countries. An offshore jurisdiction should be perceived as just another foreign country, but with certain advantages. These can take the form of banking secrecy laws, advantages in forming companies for international trade through tax treaties, no interest tax, no inheritance taxes, no capital gains tax, no individual tax, and many others.
15. What next?
Nothing yet. The legal impact remains to be seen, but the political fallout has already begun. But for Ghana more eyes are then again drawn to Kojo Annan who has been at the center of various scandals already.