The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) said Tuesday that the Panama Papers, a massive trove of documents about offshore companies and the people who established them, will be available online as a searchable database beginning May 9.
The anonymously leaked cache chronicles 40 years of efforts by some of the world's rich, famous and powerful to stash their cash offshore. It has already led to the resignations of Iceland’s prime minister and a Spanish industry minister — and to public outcry against leaders in Britain and Pakistan.
German newspaper and ICIJ member Süddeutsche Zeitung was the first to publish information from the leak of 11.5 million documents that originated from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.
The database will be published at https://offshoreleaks.icij.org starting at 2 p.m. EDT May 9.
“While the database opens up a world that has never been revealed on such a massive scale, the application will not be a ‘data dump’ of the original documents — it will be a careful release of basic corporate information,” the ICIJ said. The database will be vetted to prevent the release of sensitive data, such as bank account and telephone numbers, the groups said.
Participating news organizations will continue to publish exclusive reports on offshore dealings by world leaders and the rolls of banks in helping the rich and powerful hide their assets from the public. While setting up offshore accounts isn’t generally illegal, the accounts can skirt national laws aimed at preventing tax dodgers and money launderers. The leak has added to growing concern that tax havens from the U.S. state of Nevada to Hong Kong are helping the wealthy avoid paying taxes that fund government operations in ways most people can’t.