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Panama Papers database opens up to the world

Gorkha Post

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A searchable database of more than 200,000 entities found in the Panama Papers investigation has been released.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) said it was publishing the information in the public interest and the data being released only represented a small fraction of the 11.5 million leaked files from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

The full dataset is also available for download from the ICIJ website.

The ICIJ said it would not publish the entire contents of the leak or disclose raw documents because of the nature of the leak, which includes personal information such as bank statements, credit card details, internal emails, property records and financial transactions dating back to the 1970s.

The database represents the largest release of information about offshore companies and those behind them, including many of the real owners behind shell companies, who in some cases went to great lengths to obscure their identities.

The new searchable database includes personal, company, client and intermediary names and allows the public to explore the networks of companies and people that used — and in some cases abused — the anonymity of secrecy jurisdictions with the help of Mossack Fonseca.

The Panama Papers revelations have reignited the debate about the need for public registries to ensure transparency about the true owners and controllers of companies.

In the wake of the Panama Papers scandal, the US Government announced last week that it had sent legislation to Congress to create a centralised federal registry of the actual owners of any newly created company.

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South Korea to announce joint military drill plan with US before April

Thompson Reuters

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SEOUL — South Korea and the United States will announce plans before April for a postponed joint military drill, South Korea’s defense minister said on Tuesday.

Seoul and Washington had agreed to postpone the regular joint military exercise until after the Winter Olympics and Paralympics being hosted in South Korea, which end on March 18.

After the decision to delay the joint exercise, North Korea agreed to hold the first official talks with South Korea in more than two years and send athletes to the Winter Games, easing a standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programmes.

Asked when the two countries will hold the postponed drill, Song Young-moo told parliament he and his U.S. counterpart, Jim Mattis, would make an announcement between March 18 and the start of April.

“The exercise was postponed according to the spirit of the Olympics,” Song said. “We have agreed to uphold the basis until after the Paralympics…and not to confirm nor deny anything regarding what we would do after that until we announce it”.

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Song added inter-Korean talks had not come about as a direct result of the postponed drill.

But North Korea has warned it would not sit idle if the United States and South Korea push ahead with the postponed military exercises.

North Korea denounces the drills as preparations to invade it, and it has at times conducted missile tests or taken other aggressive action in response.

The South Korean and US militaries usually hold military exercises called Key Resolve and Foal Eagle in March and April, which can involve as many as 17,000 US troops and more than 300,000 South Koreans.

South Korea’s Unification Minister Cho Myong-gyon said talks to stage the postponed military drill were moving forward.

“I am aware negotiations are moving towards a direction where the drills will be held,” Cho said in a separate parliamentary session on Tuesday, without elaborating.

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