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Pandora Papers: the 'legal' way to avoid taxes

11 Oct 2021

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0:00 Pandora Papers - Intro
0:56 Pandora Papers - What are the Pandora Papers?
3:08 Pandora Papers - Why do tax havens exist?
5:34 Pandora Papers - The thin gray line
14:06 Pandora Papers - What is going to happen next?

We don't know precisely when the ICIJ began to get the info that led to many investigations. But we do know that it's been happening since 2013, at least.

They ‘followed the money’. This phrase gained popularity after the Watergate scandal. But tracking money has been vital for uncovering who's behind the shadiest business in the world since long before Nixon. The problem is that power, greed, and corruption can sweep even the deepest trail.

For decades, journalists have dedicated countless hours to "following the money." One important player is the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). This is a global organization that gets a lot of info from a lot of people. They even have a "leak to us" tab on their home page. The ICIJ is behind some of the most important investigations. They've released the Mauritius Leaks, China Cables, Panama Papers, and the Pandora Papers.

This latest leak is the biggest in history. 11.9 million documents, totaling almost 3 TB of information, tell the story of how the rich hide their wealth, avoid paying taxes, and, yes, launder money.

The Pandora Papers investigation required the work of 600 journalists from 117 countries. They went through the records of 14 offshore service providers.

What came out has devastating implications. But, what's worse, is that the problem might be too complicated to solve. Let's think of it as a parallel secret financial world where the rich and powerful safeguard their wealth.

One way to do so is through offshore accounts. These are outside the country that generates the money, in countries with low or no corporate tax. But, then, they create a network of corporations so complex that it's almost impossible to keep track. Until there's a leak, of course.

Who does this? Big names. The Pandora Papers include 35 current and former Heads of State, 300 politicians, and many celebrities from more than 90 countries. If you want to know more about the people involved, check out Jake Tran's killer video on the topic.

As for Slidebean, I wanted to talk about how tax havens and how they work. You see, offshore companies and tax havens aren't necessarily illegal or wrong. But they can be. The key is how people use them.

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