A Hollywood film and a criminal trial date for Panama Papers. View this email in your browser

Panama Papers Trial & Swiss Guilt

Hello Juan!

The much-anticipated (by us, at least!) Hollywood film inspired by our Panama Papers investigation hit the big screen on Sunday at the Venice Film Festival. We've been following the lead-up to the movie's release, as well as covering plenty of updates to our investigations, many of which continue to make waves years after they were first published. Enjoy! 


January 2020 is when the first U.S. criminal case will head to trial. Four people were charged in relation with the Panama Papers, but for now we only have the court date for two of them. The lawyers have been back and forth – complaining about the amount of data they have to sift through (welcome to our lives!) in order to make the case.


Why would a company – headquartered in Bangkok – have a related entity in Mauritius? Other companies might be listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange, or the NASDAQ, yet they’re incorporated in the tiny African island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Our research team spent hours digging through the 200,000 documents that were the basis of Mauritius Leaks, but these five examples stuck with them – from palm oil to online travel bookings – and exemplify the diversity of businesses using Mauritian companies.


A former head of HSBC’s Private Bank has pleaded guilty to helping wealthy individuals hide $1.8 billion from French authorities. Peter Braunwalder was fined $560,000 and received a one-year suspended sentence. It was a rough week for the banking giant’s Swiss unit, which also agreed to pay $329 million in Belgium to settle a criminal probe. The charges come after our 2015 investigation, Swiss Leaks, revealed the bank was helping clients connected with arms trafficking, blood diamonds and bribery.


Leaked Paradise Papers documents, which come mostly from the offshore law firm Appleby, are fair game when it comes to assessing Glencore’s tax bill in Australia. That was the ruling from the Australian High Court last week. Glencore argued “legal privilege” – which usually exempts lawyer-client communications from being used in evidence – should protect the commodity giant. Not in this case. Jeremy Hirschhorn, from the Australian Taxation Office, said “taxpayers are only one data leak away from their entire affairs being exposed” in the wake of the decision.


There was plenty of interest in Steven Soderbergh’s latest film with its star-studded cast including Antonio Banderas, Meryl Streep and Gary Oldman. Things got very exciting last week when the trailer hit the internet (watch it here). The movie debuted at the Venice Film Festival. Of course, not everyone knows about the Panama Papers – and 2016 was a long time ago – so we’ve answered some frequently-asked questions for you. And if you’ve got another burning question, reply to this email and we’ll answer it!

Until next month!

Amy Wilson-Chapman

ICIJ's Community Engagement Editor


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