PREMIUM TIMES will on Thursday make public the names of at least 100 Nigerians and companies so far identified in the leaked internal data of Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonsecca, as operators of offshore shell companies in tax havens.
The names will contain top business persons, and politicians, including those currently holding public offices.
The publication will detail names of companies, their owners and the particular tax havens the offshore firms were incorporated or domiciled.
PREMIUM TIMES Editor-in-Chief, Dapo Olorunyomi, said the planned release of the names was in response to widespread and relentless request by the paper’s readers for more of the Nigerian characters in the infamous database, now globally known as #PanamaPapers.
Mr. Olorunyomi said the release of the names will not end the paper’s reporting on a matter that has shocked the world and has intensified campaign for global action against notorious tax havens helping corrupt individuals to hide ill-gotten assets and evade tax.
“Our team will keep digging into the database,” Mr. Olorunyomi said. “As more revelations become public, we will make them public.”
He praised the professionalism of the five-man team at the paper that has worked for months pouring through the data, extracting what is relevant for Nigeria and investigating the individuals and the companies identified to add context to the revelations.
“The way our young but immensely talented team has worked on the challenging project has continued to amaze me and to be honest, this company cannot reward them enough,” he said.
The #PanamaPapers series, which has run for more than a month now, has so far revealed how some Nigerian politicians, businessmen, a clergyman and relations of top government functionaries may have used offshore entities to conceal questionable wealth in tax havens around the world.
The Mossack Fonseca database, obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) with PREMIUM TIMES and over 100 other media partners in 82 countries show how several individuals around the world used shell companies domiciled in controversial tax havens in their business transactions.
The unprecedented year-long investigation involving 11.5 million secret documents – which stretch from 1977 to December 2015 – expose the hidden underground of the world economy, a network of banks, law firms and other middlemen that utilize shell companies, sometimes using them to hide illegal wealth.
The 2.6 TB files, involving 214,488 entities, also reveal hundreds of details about how former gun-runners, contractors and other members of the spy world use offshore companies for personal and private gain.
The investigation unveiled the cloak of secrecy provided by Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm that specializes in creating offshore companies, some of which have been used by con men and women to hide Ponzi schemes, predatory lending scams, and other financial frauds from their victims and from the authorities.