Panama Papers: For CFOs, a New Source for Due Diligence

On May 9, the International Consortium of Journalists (ICIJ) will publish what it calls “likely to be the largest-ever release of information about secret offshore companies and the people behind them, based on data from the Panama Papers investigation.”

The searchable database will include information about more than 200,000 companies, trusts, foundations and funds incorporated in 21 tax havens, from Hong Kong to Nevada in the United States, said ICIJ.

The trove of information should be helpful in due diligence investigations by companies doing M&A, for example, and those contemplating partnerships and supply chain arrangements with persons and companies on which there is a dearth of information.

So far, the Panama Papers have been used by journalists to do investigative stories and by some tax authorities to probe potential tax evaders.   

“The investigation has led to high profile resignations, including the prime minister of Iceland; triggered official inquiries in multiple countries; and put pressure on world leaders and other politicians, such as Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, to explain their connections to offshore companies,” notes the ICIJ.

“It sparked a new sense of urgency among lawmakers and regulators to close loopholes and make information about the owners of shell companies public.”

“This release is the next step in our ongoing year-long investigation,” said the ICIJ, as it promises to continue investigating and publishing more stories with its partners.

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