Yes, I think we all had our suspicions about the covert activities of the wealthy and powerful to hide their wealth and prevent themselves paying their dues into a struggling society. In fact, some of it was overt; it is well known for instance, that Google has only paid 3-5% Corporation tax on it’s UK profits. Of course, no one cracks down on this, least of all the Conservative’s, because we live in a Corporatist system, where the Government is at the mercy of big business and international corporations such as Google, Facebook etc.
No, at least these companies are unapologetic brazenly defiant about their complete disregard for their moral duty to pay their fair share of taxes and contribute to society in any meaningful way.
Indeed, Mossack Fonseca responded with the arrogance that you’d expect any incredibly successful multi-national company to. Their statement read thus:
“Our industry is not particularly well understood by the public, and unfortunately this series of articles will only serve to deepen that confusion. The facts are these: while we may have been the victim of a data breach, nothing we’ve seen in this illegally obtained cache of documents suggests we’ve done anything illegal, and that’s very much in keeping with the global reputation we’ve built over the past 40 years of doing business the right way, right here in Panama.
“Obviously, no one likes to have their property stolen, and we intend to do whatever we can to ensure the guilty parties are brought to justice.
“But in the meantime, our plan is to continue to serve our clients, stand behind our people, and support the local communities in which we have the privilege to work all over the world, just as we’ve done for nearly four decades.”
Essentially, because there’s nothing to necessarily suggest illegal activity on Mossack Fonseca’s behalf (others will challenge this claim but that’s an argument for another day), they can claim to doing business the ‘right way’ in standing with their ‘global reputation’. You see, they leave the illegal activity to the intermediaries or the actual clients. They have helped hide laundered, stolen, and dirty money. Yet this is doing business the ‘right way’ because this is all legal, apparently. Who knew?
Companies such as these may be made up of collectives, but there can be no doubt the attitude that they can do anything that they can get away with is reflected in individual behaviour. So, perhaps it came as no great shock that 12 world leaders were among 143 politicians to be indicted among the leaks; including Poroshenko of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin, and Gunnlaugsson of Iceland. Not mention our own Prime Minister’s father.
Having said this, apathy is not the correct response to the leaks. If one’s response is “well, we all knew it was happening”, or a sarcastic “gasp, what a surprise”, then nothing will ever change. These people will continue to make us all look like fools and act in whatever way they please without ever being held to account. No, we must be outraged. We must become angry with them. We must rub their noses in their own corruption at every opportunity we get. This is the opportunity we have been waiting for to call them out on their own hypocritical bullshit.
Six members of the House of Lords, three former Conservative MP’s and numerous Tory donor’s have been shown to have links to offshore accounts. All of this has been taking place under guise of ‘austerity’ that “we’re all in this together”. So, while Cameron, Osborne and company have been targeting the young, the poor, the weak, and the vulnerable with their austerity cuts (because apparently we have a deficit), their chums (and parents) have been hiding their millions abroad.
We must remember also that Mossack Fonseca is only the fourth largest law firm of it’s kind. Imagine who could get caught up in the turbulence if the top three firms all had similar data leaks. I should think many other politicians of this country would be shown to be selfish hypocrites.
Don’t let them tell you there is no money. There is plenty of money, but they are not willing to spread the wealth. The Panama Leaks have shown us this much.