Things You Most Likely Didn't Know About What Is The Pandora Papers?

The Pandora Papers are 11.9 million leaked documents with 2.9 terabytes of data that the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) published beginning on 3 October 2021. The leak exposed the secret offshore accounts of 35 world leaders, including current and former presidents, prime ministers, and heads of state as well as more than 100 billionaires, celebrities, and business leaders. The news organisations of the ICIJ described the document leak as their most expansive exposé of financial secrecy yet, containing documents, images, emails and spreadsheets from 14 financial service companies, in nations including Panama, Switzerland and the UAE, surpassing their previous release of the Panama Papers in 2016, which had 11.5 million confidential documents (2.6 terabytes). At the time of the release of the papers, the ICIJ said it is not identifying its source for the documents. Estimates by the ICIJ of money held offshore (outside the country where the money was made) range from US$5.6 trillion to US$32 trillion

Things You Most Likely Didn't Know About What Is The Pandora Papers?
Symbol used to represent the leak by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

The Pandora Papers investigation is the world’s largest-ever journalistic collaboration, involving more than 600 journalists from 150 media outlets in 117 countries.

The investigation is based on a leak of confidential records of 14 offshore service providers that give professional services to wealthy individuals and corporations seeking to incorporate shell companies, trusts, foundations and other entities in low- or no-tax jurisdictions. The entities enable owners to conceal their identities from the public and sometimes from regulators. Often, the providers help them open bank accounts in countries with light financial regulation.

The 2.94 terabytes of data,  leaked to ICIJ and shared with media partners around the world, arrived in various formats: as documents, images, emails, spreadsheets, and more.

The records include an unprecedented amount of information on so-called beneficial owners of entities registered in the British Virgin Islands, Seychelles, Hong Kong, Belize, Panama, South Dakota and other secrecy jurisdictions.

They also contain information on the shareholders, directors and officers. In addition to the rich, the famous and the infamous, those exposed by the leak include people who don’t represent the public interest and who don’t appear in our reporting, such as small business owners, doctors and other, usually affluent, individuals away from the public spotlight.

While some of the files date to the 1970s, most of those reviewed by ICIJ were created between 1996 and 2020. They cover a wide range of matters: the creation of shell companies, foundations and trusts; the use of such entities to purchase real estate, yachts, jets and life insurance; their use to make investments and to move money between bank accounts; estate planning and other inheritance issues; and the avoidance of taxes through complex financial schemes. Some documents are tied to financial crimes, including money laundering.