This week has seen the resignation of the Icelandic Prime Minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, due to his involvement with the Panama Papers. These papers are so called because of their associations with Panamanian corporate service. More than 214,000 accounts were anonymously leaked with 11.5 million documents. That in itself calls to awe the craft and skill of the source who managed to bring to light all this new information. Then, as the article says, disgust comes next. Over 14,000 clients managed to hide away vast amounts of wealth from their mother countries to set it up overseas. While the Panama-based law firm insists that they have not broken any ethical laws by storing this money, it does make the question of where these thousands of people managed to accumulate all this wealth in the first place and then work to keep it hidden by using shell companies.
The two largest questions everyone is probably asking now is what will happen to all the people found to be involved with these offshore bank accounts, and had this information never been linked, how long would they have been able to live with this lie? Having offshore bank accounts is no new news nor is it illegal. However, to use them as a gateway to evade taxes and accumulate wealth from far legal ways is. If one thing, this shows the vulnerability of international finance. Over the past decade mainly, the vitality of money has been seen. It is a means to spreading democracy and holds much more power than every before thought. Due to this event, though, it can be seen that money is still fallible and while states may put up more rules, there will always be those searching for ways to break them.
The ultimate thing to consider and watch for from this event is whether or not a change will occur. The concept of having offshore bank accounts is not illegal in and of itself, but it seems that the connotation when one hears that idea brings only negative thoughts to mind. International law is something much different than state law, thus making changes harder to create. However, if many countries are suffering from their citizens using these types of accounts to hide away from taxing and ethical consequences, then perhaps some amendment needs to be made.