The fallout from the leaked "Panama Papers" is still being felt
all over the world, but as journalists and governments grapple with revelations
of tax evasion and "offshore" holdings, many have wondered:
where are the Americans in the leak? As several news outlets are beginning
to highlight, several Americans
have been named in the documents—and some of them have criminal records.
As USA Today reports, the Panama Papers include references to several Americans with prior
"white collar" convictions. Among them is a Wall Street financier
with a record of wire fraud and money laundering via offshore shell companies.
Others include a Russian-born real estate mogul with a tax evasion record
and an American with ties to Indonesia oilfield Ponzi scheme who was jailed
for 13 years for tax evasion. Perhaps the most "public" of the
named Americans (as reported by the
New Yorker) is Marianna Olszewski, a financial adviser and author (who has no prior
What are the "Panama Papers?"
The "Panama Papers" is the shorthand nickname of the massive
document leak at Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. The documents were
recovered by the U.S.-based International Consortium of Investigative
Journalists, who then shared the documents with hundreds of news outlets,
most prominently the German newspaper
Mossack Fonseca created more than 200,000 offshore companies (or shell
companies) for its clients. While the creation or use of these companies
is largely legal all over the world, they are often associated with tax
evasion and fraud. Among the high-profile names included in the papers
are British Prime Minister David Cameron and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Where are the Americans?
Roughly 200 individuals with American addresses have been identified in
the massive leak, but it's still unclear if those individuals are
actually American citizens. It's also possible that more Americans
will be identified in the 11.5 million files that are still being researched
Will the leak result in any criminal charges? That remains unclear. While
shell companies are legal, it is not yet known what all of Mossack Fonseca's
clients were actually using them for—a question that is sure to
be of interest to the IRS and other federal authorities. In response to
the noticeable lack of Americans in the leak thus far, an editor of
Süddeutsche Zeitung tweeted "Just wait for what is coming next."
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