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on Panama Papers

Secrets of Panama Papers affecting society

sasha Tsyupka

on 27 April 2016

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Transcript of on Panama Papers

Secret Money of the Rich
as discovered from Panama Papers
Deng Jiagui is a brother-in-law of current president of China - Xi Jinping
Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca
For 40 years it was helping to create offshore shell companies for famous and infamous rich clients:
prime ministers
drug cartels
weapons dealers
mafia clans
'The Firm,' (2016), In
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
, Retrieved
April 26 2016 from (http://panamapapers.sueddeutsche.de/articles/56febf8da1bb8d3c3495adec/)

he secretly owned a company Wintris Inc in the British Virgin Islands
Recent news about secret money relocations as discovered from Panama Papers were shaking trust and safety of the whole global society:

Citizens of diverse countries are affected - of economically developed ones, as well as of countries that are poor or involved in a war.

People across many socioeconomic classes are affected by the findings from these papers (some of the upper class may fear to face legal responsibilities, many of the lower class may develop more fear and have more reasons to not trust their leaders).
The biggest data leak for investigative journalism is now in news
Why those communications and records from Panama Papers are important and what do they reveal?
review of correspondence is showing how important was the secrecy of the following operations
clients were requesing to open shell companies to offshore their money
most of those companies had sham directors in order to conceal true identity of the money owner
some transfers were serving as hidden channels to direct money to finance parties in conflict or to bypass sanctions
most of the countries where shell companies were created are known as "tax heavens" and help in avoiding otherwise imposed taxes or disclosure of account balance
The outline of this presentation
We will look at:
Why Panama Papers are important news?
How information from Panama Papers is important for global society
Few examples of findings from Panama Papers
How sociology can explain such operations and what can they mean?
Conclusion summarising sociological reasons and explanations for such events of 'secrecy' that impact our society
Let us look closer at few cases from Panama Papers to see who participated in these operations and then how that might affects society
Iceland Prime Minister's offshore capital
Hidden wealth of brother-in-law of Chinese president
Financing supplies for Syrian conflict
Iceland Prime Minister
Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson
that company held $4 million in bonds in the three major Icelandic banks
when he became Prime Minister, he did not disclose his ownership of the Wintric Inc.
recently he resigned from the position of Prime Minister after the publishing of Panama Papers and resulting protests of Icelanders
How sociology can explain that?
A look at Sociological Theory of Karl Marx
According to the Panama Papers, he provided funds for the production of poison gas and the operation of torture facilities.
Rami Makhlouf is a cousin of Bashar Assad - Syria's current president
Has been a client of the Panama firm for 15 years.
he has been banned by U.S. government since 2008 to do business with.
Was able to store millions of dollars in foreign banks using offshore companies.
Marxism explains societal processes to be fueled
by a dynamic interaction of three concepts:
Marx believed that society is changing and shaping because of a presence of class differences and the
between them for
Those who have
justify its use with a certain
and are ready to protect their hold of power by engaging in
Connecting Marxism with the findings in Panama Papers
money can be equated to
(availability of money gives a possibility to influence the world around us).
when this hiding becomes known,
arises and fuels some forms of social changes (initiating legal actions, changing policies, protests, resignations, etc.)
Conclusions derived from Marx's theory
I can conclude that those persons who look for offshore companies to hide money are having essentially pure human intention - to protect their power. The motive is the same as in when lower class persons want to increase/protect their power (access to and amount of social benefits) by increasing taxes.
There is a positive side to this situation - it has a potential to fuel social change. More so, as Marx had argued, this is the only way for change to occur.
Since high taxes and negative public opinion about being super rich is jeopardising a money holder to lose the money or reputation, the
(justification) is 'to save money in a way that public or officials don't know about'.
There is big market demand for such "secrecy" services. Unfortunately such services are offered for both good and bad parties - those who want to protect the power to serve society and the one's that protect destructful power. Latter ones create a conflict of class struggle.
Conclusions about possible effective solutions
Looking from Marxism perspective, there is a strong need to take and hold power. All socioeconomic classes need that power. So instead of playing tug war and pulling this power from each other, we need to learn to honor this power in another's hands and trust them to use it for good of all.
Our mere conditioning that the rich are greedy and will take all the power they can to benefit themselves already is distansing us from them and is creating reasons for them to fear to loose power.
Along with protective laws and regulations, we need to develop new belief system where class difference is not distancing us but shows potential to work together. from our middle class perspective - if a prime minister is allowed to have money or the businessman is not looked down upon for being a millionaire, there will be less demand to hide legitimate money and more opportunities to hunt for the criminal money.
in 2004 when Xi was entering politics to eventually become a president, Deng opened an offshore company.
In 2009 - the time when Xi was in the top ruling body of China, Deng created two more offshore companies
Since Xi became a president, those companies went dormant. The purpose of all such actions is not clear from available information.
'The Players - Rami,' (2016), In
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
, Retrieved April 26 2016 from https://projects.icij.org/panama-papers/power-players/?lang=en#47
Giddens, A., Duneier, M., Appelbaum, R. P., & Carr, D. (2015).
 Essentials of sociology
5th Edition. New York: Norton.
'The Players - Dang,' (2016), In
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
, Retrieved April 26 2016 from https://projects.icij.org/panama-papers/power-players/?lang=en#69
According to Marxism, this is a typical example of forces that drive social change.
Secrets of Panama Papers affecting society
I also conclude that Panama Papers are mostly holding information about cases when persons wanted to keep their riches secret (which is ok in most cases, as long as taxes are paid). Unfortunately the name Panama Papers might be associating with crime and all who are mentioned there may be seen as involved in some dark schemes.
'The Players - Sigmundur,' (2016), In
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
, Retrieved April 26 2016 from https://projects.icij.org/panama-papers/power-players/?lang=en#49
(Giddens, Duneier, Appelbaum & Carr, 2015, p. 16)
('The Firm,' 2016)
('The Firm,' 2016)
('The Players - Sigmundur,' 2016)
('The Players - Rami,' 2016)
('The Players - Deng,' 2016)
Full transcript