Offshore Leaks: Investigating Dirty Money and White Collar Crime
Tax havens are jurisdictions with significantly low rates of taxation for foreign investors, which may also offer financial secrecy. With the help of white-collar professionals, like lawyers and accountants, the wealthy can avoid taxes by shifting their money offshore and parking it in foreign nations.
Tax havens are utilized by the wealthy worldwide to hide their funds. Tax havens do not just deprive developed nations of tax income, but also developing nations that rely on taxes to provide basic services, like healthcare, and to build critical infrastructure, like roads and schools. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has estimated that tax havens may be costing developing countries a sum of up to three times the global aid budget, roughly $1tn.
Money filtered into tax havens doesn’t always remain in banks, it can also be transferred into equity in international companies and property. The leaked Pandora Papers alone showed offshore owners owned £4bn of UK property, funded through tax avoidance and illicit finance. The hidden funds also finance the purchase of influence and the cleansing of reputations.
Tax havens are utilized for several reasons, including keeping cash safe from seizure and avoiding inheritance taxes. Transferring money offshore is legal, however, criminals use these havens to take advantage of their anonymous nature. Tax havens have been linked to royals, politicians, organized crime groups, and financial fraudsters.
Transparency is a powerful tool in unmasking criminal funds hidden within tax havens. Company directories like Companies House and OpenCorporates are vital tools in researching companies, however, the movement of money in tax havens is usually less transparent. In some cases, anonymous sources have leaked documents, images, emails, and spreadsheets linked to offshore funds. Leaks like the Panama Papers have provided transparency, enabling us to see who hides money in these havens, how much money they are hiding, and where their funds are going.
The transparency of funds within tax havens has exposed the secret dealings of the wealthy, unmasking illegal funds and enabling investigators to identify links to money laundering, tax evasion, fraud, and other crimes. Utilizing offshore data leaks, investigators can link their subjects to cash held abroad, enabling the true value of their assets to be established and unmasking hidden links to crime.
We’ve recently added Offshore Leaks data to Skopenow reports, including Panama Papers, Paradise Papers, Bahama Leaks, and more. This whistleblower data consists of tens of millions of financial and legal records for hundreds of thousands of subjects.
Offshore Leaks data assists investigators in:
- Connecting companies and people to offshore companies and trusts.
- Linking subjects to international tax fraud.
- Establishing financial association links between companies and people.
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