5 big leaks of tax-haven records before the Pandora Papers


The Pandora Papers, a huge cache of data containing secret details of offshore bank accounts and shell companies, is thought to be the largest ever leak of tax-haven financial information. The files, stemming from 14 offshore-services firms, were leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which shared them with its partner media outlets (including CBC/Radio-Canada) and began publishing stories on Oct. 3. 

But the Pandora Papers isn’t the first such leak. Confidential lists of offshore account-holders have found their way into the hands of journalists and governments a number of times over the last decade and a half. Here are five important previous leaks of records from various tax havens:

Paradise Papers – 2017

What: Records from several dozen jurisdictions held by the global offshore law firm Appleby, which is headquartered in Bermuda, as well as a Singapore-based offshore services provider. The leak also included the corporate registries from 19 countries and territories.

Number of people in data: More than 120,000.

Canadians: 3,000-plus.

Records leaked: 13.4 million.

Who leaked: The records were leaked to the same German journalists who received 2016’s Panama Papers (see below). Their source has not been identified. 

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Panamanian lawyers Juergen Mossack, left, and Ramon Fonseca founded the firm that bore their name until its undoing in the fallout from the Panama Papers. (ICIJ/Reuters)

Panama Papers – 2016

What: Records from 21 offshore jurisdictions held by a single Panama-based global law firm, Mossack Fonseca.

Entities affected: 214,000 offshore companies, trusts and other entities. 

Canadians: 900-plus individuals, corporations and trusts.

Records leaked: 11.5 million.

Who leaked: Journalists from the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung received the leak from an anonymous source who called themself John Doe. The German reporters shared the records with the ICIJ and its global media partners.

Taxes recouped: The Canada Revenue Agency says it’s assessed $29 million in additional tax but won’t say how much of that it has collected.

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Offshore Leaks – 2013

What: Records on 10 different…

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