Quantcast

Offshore bank accounts posted online for all to see



WASHINGTON—A massive database of private offshore banking entities that could be used for tax evasion was posted online for public use on Friday by the muckraking group that first reported the files.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) said anyone can now search the records of some 100,000 companies, trusts and funds located in leading tax havens to see who could be making use of them to skirt home-country taxes.

The group said it was doing so in the name of public interest and also hoped that crowd-sourcing the files would lead to more revelations about public figures who hide their money.

“Secrecy creates an environment where fraud, tax evasion, money laundering and other forms of corruption thrive. The Offshore Leaks Database helps remove this secrecy,” said ICIJ director Gerard Ryle.

“Opening up the records serves the public interest by bringing accountability to an industry that has long operated in the shadows,” he said.

The ICIJ, which first revealed that it had the huge cache of computerized files last year, has already prompted investigations into tax dodging in a number of countries, including Greece, India, the Philippines and South Korea.

“Entry to the secret world is now publicly available for the first time online,” Ryle said.

“It may be that the best stories are still out there,” he added.

Data sharing

The release comes ahead of the G8 summit next week, where leaders of the world’s top economies will discuss a pact on sharing banking data to allow countries to fight tax evasion.

And it comes amid rising pressure on the tax havens themselves to be less secretive.

The ICIJ said it did not put all of the data it has online. It stripped out personal information like e-mail addresses, bank account numbers and phone numbers.

Some of the information on the location of offshore entities has also been held back, it said.

Nor is there any financial information in the records, such as capital of the entities or profit and loss data.

The data are also heavily focused on Asia and Asians, and Singapore-based or linked entities, especially Singapore-based wealth manager Portcullis TrustNet.

Prominent names

Most of the names are not known publicly. But a search for some prominent names shows some links to offshore companies.

“Mahathir” brings up Mokhzani Mahathir, the son of Malaysia’s former prime minister, and several companies linked to him that are based in Malaysia’s offshore banking center Labuan.

A search for “Chearavanont,” the family that controls Thailand’s giant CP Group conglomerate, lists several names, all apparently the children of CP chief Dhanin Chearavanont.

They are tied to Mandolin Capital, registered in the British Virgin Islands, through Portcullis, but recorded as defunct in the database.

No wrongdoing

But there is nothing to indicate any wrongdoing, ICIJ acknowledges.

“There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts, and ICIJ does not suggest or imply that the people and companies included in the database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly,” the group said in a statement.

It stressed instead that the database can help develop pictures of offshore networks that can be used to hide money.

It allows users “to explore the relationships between clients, offshore entities and the lawyers, accountants, banks and other intermediaries who help keep these arrangements secret.”








Recent Stories:

Spaniard rescued after 12 days in Peru cave 11 mins elapsed Kids in Mayon’s danger zones resume schooling in tents, merged classes 19 mins elapsed Philippines seizes 15 paintings from Marcos family 38 mins elapsed Belo’s ‘unforgettable moment’ pushes FEU past La Salle and into finals 57 mins elapsed FEU-NU Finals ‘best thing that ever happened to UAAP’, says Coach Racela 1 hour elapsed Roxas suspends operations of 8 firearms dealers 2 hours elapsed Netizens flood Twitter with congratulatory posts for Bulldogs 2 hours elapsed Big car discount a stronger case vs Purisima—Escudero 2 hours elapsed
Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.




  • PalawanDude

    It is time for JV Ejercito and Imee Marcos to sully disclose what their offshore accounts are all about!

  • farmerpo

    ‘The ICIJ said it did not put all of the data it has online. It stripped out personal information like e-mail addresses, bank account numbers and phone numbers.’
    ‘Nor is there any financial information in the records, such as capital of the entities or profit and loss data.’
    Does it sound like gimme or what?

  • mangtom

    Siguradong maraming pera ni Juan dela Cruz na nakatago diyan sa pangalan ng mga mandarambog na politico at generales. Sana lalabas na rin ang mga baho ng mga yan. Looks like offshore banking is losing its character as a safe haven for guys with itchy fingers. Hindi lang siguro na yong anak ni Bigoteng Super Crook na may hidden account diyan among our politicians.

  • ernievictory

    aha, bulking na ang mga marcoses. denial queen na naman si imee. mana sa AMA nyang sinungaling at mapanlinlang. …



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
Advertisement
Marketplace