A month after the "Panama Papers" leak rattled the global community and embroiled several national leaders in tax evasion scandals, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) is set to unleash information on more than 200,000 offshore entities online on Monday. The ICIJ has called the datatbase "the largest ever release of secret offshore companies," with links to individuals from 200 countries and territories.
Last month, 11.5 million documents of Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca were leaked, exposing names of several people, including those linked to heads of states such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The documents led to turmoil in many parts of the world, even forcing Icleand's prime minister to step down after protests. In other countries, leaders such as British Prime Minister David Cameron and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had to face opposition heat over links to offshore accounts.
The fresh release of Panama documents will allow anyone to search for names of true owners of the companies set up by Mossack Fonseca, as well as the networks around thousands of offshore entities, ICIJ said.
"While the database opens up a world that has never been revealed on such a massive scale, the application will not be a "data dump" of the original documents â€“ it will be a careful release of basic corporate information," the ICIJ had said in a statement. The database will be published on https://offshoreleaks.icij.org at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 UTC) on May 9.
The Panama documents were first supplied to German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung by an anonymous source, and the paper shared the trove of information with the ICIJ. The anonymous whistleblower, identified by the pseudonym John Doe, last week offered to make the documents available to government authorities.
Mossack Fonseca, which has been offering services for incorporating companies in tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands hit out at the leak, claiming that its servers had been hacked.