Introduction It seems that material greed has eclipsed all honour and ethics in this world.For example, we have had some corruption scandals of epic proportions in our country such as the 2G Spectrum scam, commonwealth games scam and the Coal scam.
People who are in power or people who are rich and mighty are looting the nation just so that they can accumulate more and more wealth. And this is a problem not just in our nation but in other nations of the world as well.There have been many whistle blowers and leaks but nothing compares to the Panama Papers leak.
What are Panama papers First let us see what it is all about. The Panama Papers are a set of 11.5 million confidential documents , of approximately 1.2 terrabytes size, that provide detailed information about more than 214,000 offshore companies listed or created by Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian corporate service provider(in layman terms, a law firm) including the identities of shareholders and directors of the various companies. The documents show how wealthy individuals, government leaders across the world and even public officials, hid their assets from public scrutiny and also so as not to pay taxes on their hidden income.At the time of release, the papers identified five heads of state belonging to a wide spectrum of countries like Argentina, Iceland, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, and the United Arab Emirates as well as government officials, close relatives, and close associates of various heads of government of more than forty other countries. The British Virgin Islands, an infamous tax haven of the rich and powerful, was home to half of the companies exposed and Hong Kong contained the most affiliated banks, law firms, and middlemen which shows us how the rich and the powerful of the world exploit the many loopholes in financial rules and regulations of various countries.
Now let us try to understand the need to make offshore accounts or establish shell companies.The use of offshore accounts or companies is not illegal per se in the jurisdictions of the countries in which they are registered,but during their investigations, reporters found that some of the shell companies have been used for illegal purposes such as fraud, drug trafficking, and tax evasion and even funding that goes to terrorist groups across the world. One of the interesting aspects of this leak is that Panama is considered as one of the oldest and best-known tax havens in the Americas, and "the recipient of drug money from Latin America", plus ample other sources of dirty money from the US and elsewhere in the world according to US government sources.
Hiding money in shell companies So many heads of states and relatives of high ranking officials of about 70 countries across the world only exposes the material greed of the rich. The problem is that these individuals wield a lot of power in their countries and are pretty rich and own a lot of successful businesses.Then why does a need arise for these individuals to hide their wealth. Just because they do not want to pay taxes on their income, they hide a large portion of it. When they are already so wealthy then why cant they just pay taxes like normal people. The taxes that they pay will only help their nations develop further and will lead to upliftment of the poor and infrastructure development and many such other things in their country. But then, GREED enters their heart and they want to keep accumulating more and more and even more wealth and keep stashing that money abroad.
A very similar problem in India is how a lot of people hide their illegal income in Swiss banks and even after assurances from the Indian government that if they come clean and pay taxes on those particular incomes , they wont be legally prosecuted but still nobody has come forward yet.
It makes me really sad to see that that 1% of the population has become so selfish and so consumed by power and greed that they cant look at the thousands of people dying of hunger and disease everyday across the world. Only humanity can save itself from the path of eventual destruction that we are traversing on and I don't think there is much hope that we are going to come off that path soon.