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Geopolitics

Panama Papers, A Haven For "Regular Guys" Too

While most attention has been devoted to the VIPs and politicians cited in the leaked documents of the Panama shell-company firm, most of the people turning to tax havens look much more like you and me.

Paris street scene
Paris street scene
Mathilde Damgé

PARIS — There are heads of state, billionaires, big names in sports and show biz scattered among the more than 11 million client files of Mossack Fonseca, the firm specialized in the creation of offshore companies that is the source of massive Panama Papers leak.

But the documents also reveal that the vast majority of the names on the lists are nobody you've ever heard of: They belong to "ordinary" people who've turned to tax havens. While the Panama Papers files that Le Monde was able to consult don't always specify the sums that were transferred, thanks to offshore shell firms in places with lenient tax authorities, numerous email exchanges, official business documents and photocopies of passports flesh out a detailed portrait of the regular clientele of the Mossack Fonseca firm that is at the center of the largest leak in newspaper history. Names have been changed.

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