Huge data leak reveals tax havens of world’s rich and famous

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The rich and famous worldwide must be shaking in their Christian Louboutin penny loafers now that documents have been leaked showing how many hide their wealth from tax collectors.

The leak, being called “The Panama Papers,” showed how Russian President Vladimir Putin and other world leaders and celebrities hide their fortunes.

The data revealed how Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca has allegedly helped clients, including drug kingpins and pedophiles, avoid sanctions, launder money and dodge taxes, The New York Daily News reported.

Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Syrian tyrant Bashar al-Assad and even movie star Jackie Chan are said to be implicated among those who used services provided by the firm, according to reports from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Putin’s name was kept off of the documents but the papers show an entire network linked to the Russian leader funneling around $2 billion.

“He takes what he wants,” U.S. political scientist Karen Dawisha told the ICIJ. “When you are the president of Russia you don’t need a written contract. You are the law.”

The Russian president’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the investigation centered on Putin and was a result of what he called “Putinophobia,” according to the Associated Press.

“I don’t consider it possible to go into the details,” Peskov said, “mainly because there is nothing concrete and nothing new about Putin, and a lack of details.”

He said he believes the leak is a smear campaign with an eye on affecting upcoming parliamentary elections and the Russian presidential election in 2018.

Peskov said it was likely just the beginning of what he warned as an “information attack” against Putin before the leak occurred, the AP reported.

As Mossack Fonseca is only the fourth largest offshore provider of these type of financial services, the leak is likely just the tip of the iceberg, according to the Daily News.

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Carmine Sabia

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