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Panama Papers to Be Released May 9

ICIJ publication of the Panama Papers database will include “more than 200,000 companies, trusts foundations and funds.”

By Michele M. Palmer and Richard L. Palmer

April 2016 | Updated October 12, 2020 | More Articles


On April 26, 2016, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) announced:

“On May 9 ICIJ will publish what will likely be the largest-ever release of information about secret offshore companies and the people behind them, based on data from the Panama Papers investigation. The searchable database will include information about more than 200,000 companies, trusts, foundations and funds incorporated in 21 tax havens, from Hong Kong to Nevada in the United States.”

With respect to the ICIJ’s earlier assertion that it would not “disclose the whole database,” it is still unclear whether the “more than 200,000” entities in the database to be released on May 9 will include all 214,000 companies. We anticipate that an incomplete release would give rise to a cottage industry built around offers of vague traces of the “entire Panama Papers,” the provenance of which could not be confirmed.

Investigation Opportunities

From our 18 years of experience in private practice, we can attest to the fact that it is extremely easy for offshore company owners to change – literally overnight – their registration and banking arrangements. Therefore, the information in the Panama Papers database is rather time sensitive when it comes to providing useful, actionable intelligence, as clients will not wish to pay for purely historical information.

At the same time, we anticipate that publication of the Panama Papers will lead to an increase in investigations of offshore companies and accounts, as clients ask us to confirm the current status or authenticity of that information.

Looking Ahead

While the damage to Mossack Fonseca – the fourth largest foundation company for offshore companies and the owner of the Panama Papers database – is certainly significant, and some “cosmetic” changes in international and national laws regulating offshore accounts will be passed, we do not expect a reduction in the use of offshore companies.

Rather, we predict the implementation of heightened security and multiple layers of ownership to further conceal ultimate beneficial owners of offshore companies.



To discuss a corporate intelligence or financial investigation matter, or to learn more about Cachet International’s investigative resources in your jurisdiction, contact Michele Palmer by email or at 602-899-3993.


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