The Panama Papers: Mystery, Hypocrisy, Conspiracy

Privacy is a valuable thing. An anonymous source has provided millions of documents revealing the private financial dealings of Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca’s clients to an international consortium of investigative journalists.

Those clients no longer enjoy privacy. The names of famous people mentioned in the documents were splashed across headlines around the world. These included people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Argentine President Mauricio Macri, family members of Chinese President Xi Jinping, as well as some well-known Saudis and a number of other celebrities.

The suggestion is that these people all had something to hide, though so far there is no proof that they have done anything illegal. The reactions have been interesting to watch. In Europe, a witch hunt was immediately launched against those who require privacy in their financial affairs. Politicians from the United Kingdom, France and Germany have called for full transparency in business transactions.

The right to privacy – a human right – has been discarded. The potential for those involved to suffer real financial damage is ignored: the data presents criminals and corrupt governments with an El Dorado of potential loot, ripe for their raiding …

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