According to this excellent article in the Atlantic, Mossack Fonseca, a global leader, the company has become famous for its expertise in creating shell companies—and infamous for its associations.
Source: What Is Mossack Fonseca, the Law Firm in the Panama Papers? – The Atlantic
The founder’s German father, a former SS officer, left Germany after WWII.
Whilst this leak is a major embarrassment for some of its current and former clients, the real issue is whether the leak will make a difference.
The answer to Dr. Alf’s question is that it will make very little difference firstly because it is very old news, more than 40 years old and of the kind that Private Eye the English satirical magazine was writing about and still writes about today.
The UK invented tax havens and special tax treatment of non-doms, using this last creation to pay for the Napoleonic Wars which were financed by Lord Rothschild of that time more than 210 years ago.
Now there are more than 40 UK tax havens, plus Dutch ones and over 200,000 companies registered tax efficiently in the State of Delaware. Panama was used by Lord Hanson and Gordon White as far back as the 1980s and Sir Richard Branson uses his own bank on the island of Necker to create self-liquidating loans and hide losses made by his UK companies.
Some 35 trillion GBP sits offshore and no doubt it is leveraged into even bigger sums using binary options trading robots by the UK Government which controls its tax havens and by other Governments which control theirs.
Leona Helmsly the now deceased hotelier from New York said that “Little people pay taxes” and despite her downfall she was right,Vodaphone which was investigated by HMRC three times has not paid a penny in taxes in 10 years and the amounts paid by Facebook, LinkedIn, BT PLC, HSBC PLC, GOOGLE, Mandiant, State Street, Commerzbank, Bank of America and others in the Dublin Financial District are no more than 3% which is pretty derisory by any standards.
Last year, Sir Philip Green the CEO of Arcadia Group PLC who lives in Monaco and flies to the Dorchester hotel by helicopter when he has business here paid £80,000 GBP in taxes. His accountants told him they could reduce his tax liability to zero but Sir Philip with his usual directness told them” I think £80,000 GBP is fair, I don’t want to poke them (HMRC), in the eye”.
In summary, offshore tax havens and minimal taxes are in the gift of the of the rich and powerful whilst the great unwashed masses have to pay their full measure.