A massive leak of information from a law firm in Panama has exposed celebrities Jackie Chan, Lionel Messi and Russian President Vlamir Putin and a host of other big names among people hiding their wealth in tax havens just to evade tax in their country.
Vladimir Putin was not directly named in the report but was allegedly traced back through his associates. Investigators claim he ‘secretly shuffled as much as $2 billion through banks and shadow companies’.
Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi owns a shell company along with his father, Mega Star Enterprises, which was previously unknown to Spanish investigators probing the Barcelona forward’s tax affairs.
An anonymous source leaked the files to German newspaper Sueddeutsche zeitung. The documents came from Mossack Fonseca, a law firm with offices in more than 35 countries.Ramon Fonseca,one of the law firm’s founders speaking to the AFP said the leaks were ‘a crime, a felony’ and ‘an attack on Panama’.
‘Certain countries don’t like it that we are so competitive in attracting companies,’ he said.The government of Panama has ‘zero tolerance’ for shady deals and would work with any legal investigations.