Data trove opens a Pandora’s box

Over the weekend a global consortium of more than 600 journalists released the Pandora Papers. It’s the successor to 2016’s Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers in 2017, and is the biggest trove of financial accounts to date; it exposes countless business people, celebrities and just, well, really rich folks who have stashed large amounts of money and assets in offshore accounts or tax havens. Why? It’s all about tax evasion and money laundering. 😲 Money that should be taxed and invested in creating better democracies is instead being hoarded.

The investigations were carried out by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), whose members dug through files and papers to get the dirt. Thankfully no South African features (we have enough of our own Gupta/state capture problems, please!) but Zimbabwean businessman Billy Rautenbach and Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta are among those named. Others include Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as musicians Elton John, Ringo Starr, and Shakira – her hips don’t lie, but apparently her bank statements do. 😟 

The trove contains 11.9m files leaked from a total of 14 offshore service providers, totalling 2.94 terabytes of information, The Guardian reported. We’re grateful to have committed data and investigative journalists willing to roll up their sleeves and dive into people’s dirty dealings! 

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 7 October 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.