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Dublin: 12°C Wednesday 29 June 2022

The largest leak of financial data ever shows how world leaders - and Lionel Messi - are hiding their wealth

The records come from a little-known law firm based in Panama called Mossack Fonseca.

THE LEAKING OF 11 million files of financial data has shown how a number of world leaders, business figures, celebrities and sports stars are concealing their wealth using offshore accounts.

Tonight the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists – a global network of reporters which broke the LuxLeaks story in 2014 and SwissLeaks last year – has published details of financial arrangements, called the Panama Papers, that allow wealthy individuals around the world to avoid paying tax.

The records come from a little-known law firm based in Panama called Mossack Fonseca. The firm is a world leader in the creation of shell companies.

Among those named are film star Jackie Chan, who has at least six shell companies run by the firm, drug kingpins and football star Lionel Messi.

Hidden in the files are numerous world leaders and their families, including Mauricio Macri, the President of Argentina, Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson and the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko.

Source: ICIJ/YouTube

There are also links to the daughter of China’s former premier Li Xiaolin, a number of friends of Russian president Vladimir Putin and British Prime Minister David Cameron’s father.

The papers also link Fifa’s ethics watchdog Juan Pedro Damiani and three men charged in the football body’s corruption scandal.

Panama Daily Life Panama City Source: AP/Press Association Images

The Irish Times reports that two Dublin-based companies have links to Mossack Fonseca.

Oxfam Ireland’s Chief Executive Jim Clarken said:

“This exposé offers a rare glimpse into the murky practices of tax dodging – and the sheer size and scale revealed is staggering.

“Every single year, poor countries lose around €150 billion due to tax dodging by wealthy individuals and companies – meanwhile 400 million people don’t even have access to basic healthcare.”

Read: “Tax the rich” isn’t going to solve our problems after the election

Read: Ireland could lose millions in tax as Facebook shifts UK profits back to UK

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