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"Panama Papers" establish unauthorized info disclosure as contagious phenomenon - NYT

May 30, 5:06 UTC+3 NEW YORK
Washington-based ICIJ released excerpts from 11.5 million documents currently known as "Panama Files," which contain data regarding offshore accounts of certain active and former global leaders
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© EPA/Alejandro Bolivar

NEW YORK, May 30. /TASS/. The "Panama Papers" were the latest and biggest in a series of recent megaleaks, establishing a large-scale, unauthorized disclosure of government and corporate secrets as a contagious phenomenon that is unlikely to go away, The New York Times said in an article published on Sunday.

"In recent days, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and South Africa joined the growing list of countries hunting down tax evaders among citizens who own offshore accounts. The French bank BNP Paribas said it would shut its Cayman Islands branch," NYT said.

"The reaction around the world has been pretty spectacular," said Gabriel Zucman, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, who has estimated that 8% of the world’s personal wealth is hidden in tax havens. "The demand for financial transparency and tax reform is really growing. It’s the first time there’s been public outrage at the global level on these issues."

Since 2010, when a low-ranking intelligence analyst in Iraq copied thousands of classified files onto CDs and gave them to the antisecrecy organization WikiLeaks, it has become clear that technology has revolutionized leaking, the newspaper said. "Pfc. Bradley Manning, now known as Chelsea, disclosed hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and military field reports. In 2013, Edward Snowden, citing Private Manning as an inspiration, gave a similar number of highly classified National Security Agency documents to a few journalists. About a year ago, a self-described whistle-blower using the name John Doe contacted Bastian Obermayer, a reporter for the newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung in Munich, eventually passing to him a far greater volume of material from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca," NYT reminded.

Washington-based ICIJ (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists) released excerpts from 11.5 million documents currently known as "Panama Files," which contain data regarding offshore accounts of certain active and former global leaders. Documents leaked from Panama’s company Mossack Fonseca that provides legal support for registration of offshore companies.

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