Democracy Now! 4/5/16

On today's episode of Democracy Now! 

"The biggest leak in the history of data journalism just went live, and it’s about corruption." That is what NSAwhistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted about the Panama Papers, which were released Sunday and reveal how the rich and powerful in numerous countries use tax havens to hide their wealth. Some 11.5 million files were leaked from one of the world’s most secretive offshore companies, Mossack Fonseca, a law firm based in Panama, and passed to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and then pored over by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The revelations implicate 12 heads of state and a number of other politicians, their family members and close associates, including friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin, relatives of the prime ministers of Britain, Iceland and Pakistan, and the president of Ukraine. On Monday, one of the largest protests in Iceland’s history demanded Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson step down after the leaked files revealed he and his wife were hiding investments worth millions of dollars behind a secretive offshore company. We are joined from Munich by Frederik Obermaier, co-author of the Panama Papers story. He is an investigative reporter at Germany’s leading newspaper, the Munich-based Süddeutsche Zeitung, and co-author of the book "Panama Papers: The Story of a Worldwide Revelation," just released today in Germany. We also speak with Michael Hudson, senior editor at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which published the Panama Papers.

The Panama Papers leak, that reveals how the rich and powerful rely on a secretive law firm to hide their wealth in tax havens, has drawn attention to a 2011 speech by Senator Bernie Sanders against the Panama-United States Trade Promotion Agreement, which became law in 2012. He noted that Panama’s entire economic output at the time was so low that the pact seemed unlikely to benefit American workers. The real reason for the agreement, Sanders argued, is that "Panama is a world leader when it comes to allowing wealthy Americans and large corporations to evade taxes." Sanders said the trade agreement "will make this bad situation much worse." We get reaction from Michael Hudson, senior editor at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which published the Panama Papers, and Frederik Obermaier, investigative reporter at Germany’s leading newspaper, the Munich-based Süddeutsche Zeitung. He is co-author of the book "Panama Papers: The Story of a Worldwide Revelation."

Hundreds of journalists around the world pored over the 11.5 million files leaked last year by an anonymous source that reveal how the rich and powerful in numerous countries use tax havens to hide their wealth. The files were leaked from one of the world’s most secretive offshore companies, Mossack Fonseca, a law firm based in Panama. They were obtained from an anonymous source by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, who shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. We hear the story of the collaboration, which did not include The New York Times, from Frederik Obermaier, an investigative reporter at Süddeutsche Zeitung, which helped publish the Panama Papers, and Michael Hudson, senior editor at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Democracy Now! Panama Papers

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