Let’s not mince words – we’ve been robbed. The mega rich, both individuals and corporations  have for many years used shell companies and tax havens to hide their money and in doing so have stolen tax dollars that should have gone to countries to fund healthcare, education, roads and industry. While the world was suffering, they were thriving through the manipulation of global markets and the ‘effective management’ of their earnings to ensure the few were benefiting at the expense of the many. The justification for this? It’s not illegal, just incredibly immoral. The leak dubbed, ‘The Panama Papers,’ will have far reaching consequences. It has many of the world’s ultra rich running scared, the head of a country walking out of an interview and one of the world’s most powerful men on the defensive.

An important component to this story is the media’s lack of interest during the first day of the Panama Paper’s release. CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, news.com.au, stuff.co.nz amongst others failed to even mention the leak. Ten News last night didn’t run the story AT ALL. The Project did a fluff piece at the end of the show but this is the biggest leak in the history of the world, and some of these networks are still ignoring it. It will be interesting to see the names of those investigated and if they have financial interest in news outlets.

Mossack Fonseca is a law firm based out of Panama with – as it ends up – a unique niche. As one journalist said, ‘If you want secrets kept secret, you go to MF.’ The world’s ultra rich sought advise on manipulating the rules of independent countries in order to avoid paying tax. Uganda, a poverty stricken country is one of many still in court trying to collect tax dollars from a Mossack Fonseca deal.

Shell Games

Why should we care? We’ve accepting ‘clever deal making’ as one of the foundations of capitalism right? Not when the world’s leaders are involved. The limited coverage by the American and British press is focusing on the shell games of Vladimir Putin who has managed to hide around a billion dollars, but even more shocking are the actions of world leaders that aren’t only a clever manipulation of law but are flat out immoral, such as Iceland’s Prime Minister who walked out of an interview after being questioned about undeclared interests in banks that his country was forced to bail out.

It’s like they’re laughing at us

There will be plenty of coverage about Mossack Fonseca and the Panama Papers over the next few days and more facts will come to light that will no doubt spell the end of some world’s leader’s public careers. As we learn more about the firm and their relationships, there’s hope that enough people will become angry to produce some real and lasting change. Whether it’s the firm’s interest in blood diamonds, helping convicts to hide their money or the fact that one of the co-founders has written a fictional book about the shady world of global finance, we can only hope that genuine action is taken by world leaders to out an end to the advantages of being a multi billionaire at the expense of the world’s poor.