Financial Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Financial Media Articles in Major Media
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Wells Fargo Bank, one of the nation's largest banks, has been hit with $185 million in civil penalties for secretly opening millions of unauthorized deposit and credit card accounts that harmed customers, federal and state officials said Thursday. Employees of Wells Fargo (WFC) boosted sales figures by covertly opening the accounts and funding them by transferring money from customers' authorized accounts without permission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Los Angeles city officials said. An analysis by the San Francisco-headquartered bank found that its employees opened more than two million deposit and credit card accounts that may not have been authorized by consumers. Many of the transfers ran up fees or other charges for the customers, even as they helped employees make incentive goals. The bank agreed to pay full restitution to all victims and a $100 million fine to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's civil penalty fund - the largest in the regulator's five-year operating history. Wells Fargo will pay a separate $35 million penalty to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Additionally, Wells Fargo said it terminated approximately 5,300 employees and managers over a five-year period for their involvement with the unauthorized accounts.
Note: No Wells Fargo executives have been held responsible for this bank's institutionalized breach of customer trust. Do you think these actions were taken without approval from at least one executive? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing banking corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Wells Fargo fired about 5,300 employees over the past several years for opening more than 2 million checking, savings, credit or debit card accounts without customers’ knowledge or consent. The big question: Why wasn’t Wells Fargo chief executive John Stumpf one of them? “It’s hard to believe that thousands of employees could have created over a million fake accounts without anyone in senior management knowing about it,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., wrote in an emailed response. “It’s one or the other: Either individuals in senior management knew about this fraud and should be held personally accountable, or they didn’t know about it and a bank as big as Wells Fargo is simply too big to manage.” On Thursday, Wells settled a lawsuit and potential lawsuits by agreeing to clean up the mess, refund fees paid by customers on accounts they did not authorize and pay fines and penalties. Those included $100 million to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, $35 million to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and $50 million to the city and county of Los Angeles. FBR analyst Paul Miller called those fines “a rounding error” for Wells, which earns about $5 billion per quarter. Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer opened an investigation into Wells after the Los Angeles Times reported in 2013 that ... “employees have opened unneeded accounts for customers, ordered credit cards without customers’ permission and forged client signatures on paperwork." His office filed a lawsuit against Wells Fargo in 2015.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing banking corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
A whistle-blower who once worked for Monsanto walked away with a handsome payout for alerting regulators to accounting improprieties within the company, according to Reuters. Regulators will reportedly award the former executive with $22 million in connection with the $80 million settlement agreement Monsanto made with the S.E.C. over an incentive program the company ran to promote its trademark weed killer, Roundup. The $22 million payout is the second-highest sum the S.E.C. has given so far to a whistle-blower, behind a $30 million award paid in September 2014. The regulatory agency enacted a program to sweeten the idea of reporting impropriety in 2011, as part of the Dodd-Frank reforms. With between 10 and 30 percent of penalties or settlement agreements made with the government on the line, Wall Streeters and company insiders have all but lined up to tip off the S.E.C. Between September 2014 and September 2015 alone, the agency says 4,000 people forked over information, and more than 30 of them have pocketed a collective $85 million over the last five years.
Note: Monsanto lied to regulators and investors about RoundUp's profitability for three years. Major lawsuits are beginning to unfold over Monsanto's lies on the dangers of Roundup. Yet the EPA continues to use industry studies to declare Roundup safe while ignoring independent scientists. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.
A former Monsanto executive who tipped the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to accounting improprieties involving the company's top-selling Roundup product has been awarded more than $22 million from the agency's whistleblower program. The award of $22,437,800 was tied to an $80 million settlement between the SEC and Monsanto in February, according to the [executive's] lawyer, Stuart Meissner in New York. It is the agency's second largest under the program. The Dodd Frank financial reform law empowered the SEC to award money to whistleblowers who give information to the agency which leads to a fine. Awards to 33 whistleblowers by the SEC's program have now surpassed a total of $107 million since the agency launched the program in 2011, the agency said. Monsanto's $80 million SEC settlement followed allegations that the company misstated its earnings in connection with Roundup, a popular weed killer. The SEC's case against Monsanto revolved around a corporate rebate program designed to boost Roundup sales. The SEC had said that Monsanto lacked sufficient internal controls to account for millions of dollars in rebates that it offered to retailers and distributors. It ultimately booked a sizeable amount of revenue, but then failed to recognize the costs of the rebate programs on its books. That led the St. Louis-based agriculture company to "materially" misstate its consolidated earnings for a three-year period. The award represents more than 28 percent of the total penalty and nearly the 30 percent maximum allowed under the SEC's bounty program.
Note: The above shows that Monsanto has been lying to their investors about how profitable Roundup is while major lawsuits build over the connection between Roundup and cancer. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
UBS, the world's largest wealth manager, is facing embarrassment over fresh revelations going back to the tax investigation that led to the collapse of Swiss banking secrecy. Two significant events are looming before UBS. The first is the possibility of a public trial in France, featuring UBS whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld, concerning historic tax evasion allegedly orchestrated by the bank. The other is the publication ... of Birkenfeld's scathing new book, Lucifer's Banker, which covers his time at UBS. The tax evasion controversy, which was first highlighted in 2005, subsequently involved the US Department of Justice, the State Department and Internal Revenue Service. It was prompted by disclosures made by Birkenfeld that UBS had helped wealthy US citizens evade taxes. In 2009, UBS paid $780m (Ł588m, €693m) to US authorities to avoid prosecution. Birkenfeld served 31 months in prison for one count of conspiracy to abet tax evasion by one of his clients. After he was released he was paid a record $104m by the IRS for helping recover unpaid taxes. However, Birkenfeld has since said that he was systematically prevented from giving testimony in open court – but this may be about to change thanks to the French authorities. Birkenfeld claims the UBS coverup stretches to the highest levels of the US establishment. He promises four big names will be exposed in his book, [and] claims there was a glaring conflict of interest involving then Senator Barack Obama, which essentially placed him on the UBS payroll.
Note: Read a New York Times article on how this courageous whistleblower managed to beat the system. As a result of Birkenfeld's disclosures, Obama's suspicious ties with UBS were reported in 2010. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the financial industry.
Three senior Irish bankers were jailed on Friday for up to three-and-a-half years for conspiring to defraud investors in the most prominent prosecution arising from the 2008 banking crisis. The trio will be among the first senior bankers globally to be jailed for their role in the collapse of a bank during the crisis. The crash thrust Ireland into a three-year sovereign bailout in 2010. It could take another 15 years to recover the funds pumped into the banks still operating. Former Irish Life and Permanent Chief Executive Denis Casey was sentenced to two years and nine months. Willie McAteer, former finance director at the failed Anglo Irish Bank, and John Bowe, its ex-head of capital markets, were given sentences of 42 months and 24 months respectively. All three were convicted of conspiring together and with others to mislead investors, depositors and lenders by setting up a 7.2-billion-euro circular transaction scheme between March and September 2008 to bolster Anglo's balance sheet. "They manufactured 7.2 billion euros in deposits by obvious sham transactions," Judge Martin Nolan told the court. No senior industry executives in [the US or UK] have been sent to jail.
Note: Iceland allowed big banks to fail and in 2015 sent 26 bankers to jail for their role in the 2008 financial crisis. It's economy is in good shape. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the financial industry.
Eric Holder has long insisted that he tried really hard when he was attorney general to make criminal cases against big banks in the wake of the 2007 financial crisis. [Yet Holder] held his department back [according to] a new, thoroughly-documented report from the House Financial Services Committee. Prosecutors in 2012 wanted to criminally charge the global bank HSBC for facilitating money laundering for Mexican drug lords and terrorist groups. But Holder said no. In September 2012, the Justice Department’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section (AFMLS) formally recommended that HSBC be prosecuted for its numerous financial crimes. From 2006 to 2010, HSBC failed to monitor billions of dollars of U.S. dollar purchases with drug trafficking proceeds in Mexico. It also conducted business going back to the mid-1990s on behalf of customers in Cuba, Iran, Libya, Sudan, and Burma, while they were under sanctions. Such transactions were banned by U.S. law. AFMLS Chief Jennifer Shasky wanted to seek a guilty plea for violations of the Bank Secrecy Act. On November 7, Holder presented HSBC with a “take it or leave it” offer of a deferred prosecution agreement, which would involve a cash settlement and future monitoring of HSBC. No guilty plea was required. HSBC [then] successfully negotiated to have individual executives immunized from prosecution. Lack of desire at the highest levels of the Justice Department was ... the primary reason that no prosecutions took place.
Note: While attorney general of the United States, Eric Holder consistently refused to prosecute Wall Street. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the financial industry.
The fast rise of Sen. Elizabeth Warren within the Democratic Party has coincided with another phenomenon: the continual use by elite-media journalists of anonymous sources in articles that either criticize Warren directly or warn other politicians about the dangers of embracing ... the policies she advocates. That journalistic trend manifested itself most recently on Monday, in a piece by Ben White in Politico that quoted fully five anonymous sources - including “one top Democratic donor,” “one moderate Washington Democrat” and “one prominent hedge fund manager” - to the effect that Hillary Clinton would be making a major misstep by selecting Warren as her running mate. Warren is an expert in bankruptcy and predatory lending and a leading critic of the financial industry. Is the “top Democratic donor” Politico quoted a self-interested executive at Citigroup or Goldman Sachs fearful that Warren would influence policy decisions? We’ll never know. Journalists in this way let powerful individuals take potshots without any fear of accountability and without the reader being able to discern what conflicts of interest might be involved. And when it comes to Warren in particular, pretty much any “administration official” or “political strategist” interested in advancing a narrative gets the anonymous treatment. The Intercept in short order compiled a list of 15 other articles and political newsletters over the last few years of the anonymously sourced, anti-Warren genre.
Note: The complete list of examples of anti-Warren propaganda articles is available at the link above. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing media manipulation news articles.
It was July 1974. William Simon, newly appointed U.S. Treasury secretary, and his deputy, Gerry Parsky, stepped onto an 8 a.m. flight. [Simon's] mission, kept in strict confidence within President Richard Nixon's inner circle, would take place during a four-day layover in the coastal city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The goal: persuade a hostile kingdom to finance America's widening deficit with its newfound petrodollar wealth. The United States would buy oil from Saudi Arabia and provide the kingdom military aid and equipment. In return, the Saudis would plow billions of their petrodollar revenue back into Treasuries and finance America's spending. At the end of months of negotiations, there remained one small, yet crucial, catch: King Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud demanded the country's Treasury purchases stay "strictly secret." With a handful of Treasury and Federal Reserve officials, the secret was kept for more than four decades. In response to a Freedom-of-Information-Act request submitted by Bloomberg News, the Treasury broke out Saudi Arabia's holdings for the first time this month. The $117 billion trove makes the kingdom one of America's largest foreign creditors. A former Treasury official ... says the official figure vastly understates Saudi Arabia's investments in U.S. government debt, which may be double or more. In April, Saudi Arabia warned it would start selling as much as $750 billion in Treasuries and other assets if Congress passes a bill allowing the kingdom to be held liable in U.S. courts for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Note: In May, the Senate approved a bill that allows victims of 9/11 and their families to pursue lawsuits against Saudi Arabia for its role in the Sept. 11 attacks. Several prominent figures are currently pushing for the declassification of hidden 9/11 report pages which reportedly shed further light on Saudi support for terrorism. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government secrecy news articles from reliable major media sources.
CEOs at the biggest companies got a 4.5 percent pay raise last year. That's almost double the typical American worker's, and a lot more than investors earned from owning their stocks - a big fat zero. The typical chief executive in the Standard & Poor's 500 index made $10.8 million, including bonuses, stock awards and other compensation, according to a study by executive data firm Equilar for The Associated Press. That's up from the median of $10.3 million the same group of CEOs made a year earlier. The raise alone for median CEO pay last year, $468,449, is more than 10 times what the typical U.S. worker makes in a year. The median full-time worker earned $809 weekly in 2015, up from $791 in 2014. "With inflation running at less than 2 percent, why?" asks Charles Elson, director of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. The answer is complicated. CEO pay packages now hinge on multiple layers of sometimes esoteric measurements of performance. That's a result of corporate boards attempting to respond to years of criticism ... from Main Street America, regulators and even candidates on the presidential trail this year. One bright spot, experts say, is the rise in the number of companies that tie CEO pay to how well their stocks perform. "There's progress generally in aligning compensation with shareholder returns," says Stu Dalheim, vice president of governance and advocacy at Calvert Investments. "But I don't think this compensation is sustainable."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.
Say the name Bernie Madoff, and chances are everyone will immediately remember the Ponzi scheme that bilked investors of $64 billion. What likely won’t spring to mind is JPMorgan Chase’s role in the more than decadelong fraud. And the link is all the more egregious, Helen Davis Chaitman, an attorney who represents 1,600 of Madoff’s victims, and Lance Gotthoffer write in “JPMadoff: The Unholy Alliance Between America’s Biggest Bank and America’s Biggest Crook,” because the federal government has failed to prosecute any of the bankers involved. Madoff trustee Irving Picard laid out JPMorgan’s involvement in a complaint, which was turned into a list of stipulations the government entered as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with JPMorgan. The stipulations outline two violations of the Bank Secrecy Act, under which banks are responsible for alerting authorities to suspected illegal activity by customers. JPMorgan, the world’s sixth-largest bank by total assets, pleaded ignorance of wrongdoing but accepted the stipulations and paid a $1.7 billion fine. [When] Madoff began kiting checks ... Bankers Trust Co. spotted the illegal activity and closed Madoff’s account. That’s when Madoff moved his business to JPMorgan, depositing $150 billion from 1986 through 2008. JPMorgan handled only Madoff’s illegal investment advisory business, not the successful stock trading business that employed 190 of Madoff’s 200 employees. And though the bank was prosecuted, none of the bankers involved with Madoff’s account were.
Note: JP Morgan Chase's role in the Madoff scandal is outrageous, but it is relatively minor in comparison to the massive securities fraud and cover-up perpetrated by this and other corrupt financial institutions.
The Federal Reserve's monetary policies "probably" fueled wealth inequality in the U.S. during the aftermath of the Great Recession, according to a former regional Fed bank president. Narayana Kocherlakota, who until this year headed the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis ... wrote in a candid op-ed Wednesday that "it's not surprising that poorer American families got the impression that the Fed did more to help banks during the financial crisis and associated recession than it did to help them. The wealth of the typical family in the bottom three-quarters of the distribution declined by a lot more than that of the typical family in the top 10th [between 2007 and 2010]," Kocherlakota wrote. "This was partly the result of leverage: The poorer families tended to have more debt for each dollar in assets, so any decline in assets translated into a much larger percentage decrease in net worth." So as housing prices collapsed in the late 2000s, poorer families were left with large pools of debt and significantly diminished assets, while more wealthy families suffered less drastic blows even though they largely had greater exposure to high-value assets. The Fed's policies, then, appeared to more dramatically affect the fortunes of lower-income Americans than the nation's richest households. Kocherlakota thinks the Fed could have done more. Suggesting that the Fed's moves inherently contributed to rising income inequality in the U.S., though, is a surprising stance for a former regional bank president to take.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.
The Panama Papers affair has widened, with a huge database of documents relating to more than 200,000 offshore accounts posted online. The papers belonged to Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca and were leaked by a source simply known as "John Doe". The documents have revealed the hidden assets of hundreds of politicians, officials, current and former national leaders, celebrities and sports stars. They list more than 200,000 shell companies, foundations and trusts set up ... around the world. Offshore companies are not illegal but their function is often to conceal both the origin and the owners of money, and to avoid tax payments. 11.5 million documents [were] originally given to the German newspaper, Sueddeutsche Zeitung. The paper allowed the ICIJ to have access. Hundreds of journalists ... then worked on the data. Their reporting was published last month. On Monday, 300 economists signed a letter urging world leaders to end tax havens, saying they only benefited rich individuals and multinational corporations, while boosting inequality. Last week, "John Doe" issued an 1,800-word statement, citing "income equality" as his motive [for leaking the documents]. He said: "Banks, financial regulators and tax authorities have failed. Decisions have been made that have spared the wealthy while focusing instead on reining in middle- and low-income citizens." He revealed he had never worked for a spy agency or a government and offered to help law authorities make prosecutions in return for immunity.
Note: Explore an excellent webpage on how to use this database of the Panama Papers. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about financial industry corruption and income inequality.
The secret tax-dodging strategies of the global elite in China, Russia, Brazil, the U.K., and beyond were exposed in speculator fashion by the recent Panama Papers investigation, fueling a worldwide demand for a crackdown on tax avoidance. But there is little appetite in Congress for taking on powerful tax dodgers in the U.S., where the practice has become commonplace ... especially given that some of the largest companies paying little to no federal taxes are among the biggest campaign contributors in the country. But there’s another reason to remain skeptical that Congress will move aggressively on tax avoidance: Former tax lobbyists now run the tax-writing committees. Many have stints in and out of government and the lobbying profession, a phenomenon known as the “reverse revolving door.” In other words, the lobbyists that help special interest groups and wealthy individuals minimize their tax bills are not only everywhere on K Street, they’re literally managing the bodies that create tax law. Barbara Angus, the chief tax counsel of the House Ways and Means Committee ... previously helped lobby lawmakers on tax policy on behalf of clients such as General Electric, HSBC, and Microsoft. Mike Evans became chief counsel for the Senate Finance Committee in 2014 after leaving his job as a lobbyist for ... JP Morgan, Peabody Energy, Brown-Forman, BNSF Railway, and other corporate clients. Verizon, Boeing, and General Electric, to name a few, paid no federal income taxes in recent years.
Note: The US ranks third in the world in financial secrecy. A 2015 Guardian newspaper article further describes how the US helps the super-rich hide assets. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the financial industry.
There aren’t many things upon which Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump agree. But the candidates for president share an affinity for the same ... office building in Wilmington. Famous for helping tens of thousands of companies avoid hundreds of millions of dollars in tax ... 1209 North Orange is home to Apple, American Airlines, Coca-Cola, Walmart and dozens of other companies. Being registered in Delaware lets companies take advantage of strict corporate secrecy rules, business-friendly courts and the “Delaware loophole”, which ... is said to have cost other states more than $9bn in lost taxes over the past decade. Both ... Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have companies registered at 1209 North Orange, and have refused to explain why. Clinton, who has repeatedly promised that as president she will crack down on “outrageous tax havens and loopholes”, [has] collected more than $16m in public speaking fees and book royalties in 2014 through the doors of 1209. Bill Clinton set up WJC LLC, a vehicle to collect his consultation fees, at the same address in 2008. The Clintons’ companies share the office with several of Trump’s companies. They include Trump International Management Corp and several companies that form part of ... a Trump partnership to develop more than $1bn worth of luxury condos on the west side of Manhattan. Of the 515 companies on Trump’s official Federal Election Commission (FEC) filing, 378 are registered in Delaware.
Note: The above article adds to the evidence that the US, which ranks third in the world in financial secrecy, is a one-party state. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the financial industry.
It’s not easy for outsiders to sort through all the competing claims about Brazil’s political crisis and the ongoing effort to oust its president, Dilma Rousseff. Brazilian oligarchs and their media organs are trying to install [current Vice President Michel Temer] as president. The New York Times’s Brazil bureau chief, Simon Romero, interviewed Temer this week. His excellent article begins: "One recent poll found that only 2 percent of Brazilians would vote for him. He is under scrutiny over ... a colossal graft scandal. Michel Temer, Brazil’s vice president, is preparing to take the helm of Brazil next month if the Senate decides to put President Dilma Rousseff on trial." The real plan behind Rousseff’s impeachment is ... protecting corruption, not punishing it. Who is going to take over Brazil’s economy and finances once Dilma’s election victory is nullified? Temer’s leading choice to run the central bank is the chair of Goldman Sachs in Brazil, Paulo Leme. Today, Reuters reported that “Murilo Portugal, the head of Brazil’s most powerful banking industry lobby” - and a long-time IMF official - “has emerged as a strong candidate to become finance minister if Temer takes power.” Temer also vowed that he would embrace austerity for Brazil’s already-suffering population. Brazilian financial and media elites are pretending that corruption is the reason for removing the twice-elected president of the country as they conspire to ... literally [hand] control over the Brazilian economy (the world’s seventh largest) to Goldman Sachs and bank industry lobbyists.
The federal government has been quietly fighting to keep a lid on an 11,000-document cache of government communications relating to financial policy. The Obama administration ... insisted that their release would negatively impact global financial markets. Unsealing some of these materials last week, a federal judge named Margaret Sweeney said the government's sole motivation was avoiding embarrassment. So what's so embarrassing? A sordid history of the government's seizure of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, also known as the government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs. Bailout-era Fannie and Freddie was turned into a kind of garbage facility for other Wall Street institutions, buying up toxic mortgages that private banks were suddenly desperate to unload. Even after the state took over the companies ... Fannie and Freddie continued to buy as much as $40 billion in bad assets per month from the private sector. Fannie and Freddie weren't just bailed out, they were themselves a bailout, used to sponge up the sins of private firms. The government ended up pumping about $187 billion into the companies. Within a few years ... Fannie and Freddie started to make money again. The GSEs went on to pay the government $228 billion over the next three years, or $40 billion more than they owed, [but] none of that money went to paying off Fannie and Freddie's debt. This ... prompted a series of lawsuits. In these suits, the government's pleas for secrecy were so extreme that it asked for, and received, "attorneys' eyes only" status for the documents in question.
Note: Why is no other media covering this important news? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the financial industry.
The top 50 U.S. companies have stored $1.4 trillion in tax havens, Oxfam America reported Thursday. Oxfam released its new report, “Broken at the Top,” ahead of Tax Day in the U.S. and shortly after of the Panama Papers leak to show the extent to which major corporations such as Pfizer, Walmart, Goldman Sachs, Alphabet, Disney and Coca-Cola keep money in offshore funds. The use of over 1,600 subsidiaries lowered their global tax rate on $4 trillion of profit to an average of 26.5%, compared to the statutory minimum of 35%, according to Oxfam. Additionally, for every dollar of taxes these companies paid, they collectively received $27 in federal loans, loan guarantees and bailouts - footed by American taxpayers. “The vast sums large companies stash in tax havens should be fighting poverty and rebuilding America’s infrastructure, not hidden offshore in Panama, Bahamas, or the Cayman Islands,” Oxfam America president Raymond Offenheiser said in a statement.
Bradley Birkenfeld is the most significant financial whistleblower of all time, so you might think he'd be cheering on the disclosures in the new Panama Papers leaks. [He] was a banker working at UBS in Switzerland when he approached the U.S. government with information on massive amounts of tax evasion by Americans with secret accounts in Switzerland. By the end of his whistleblowing career, Birkenfeld had served more than two years in a U.S. federal prison, been awarded $104 million by the IRS for his information and shattered the foundations of more than a century of Swiss banking secrecy. In an exclusive interview Tuesday from Munich, Birkenfeld said he doesn't think the source of the 11 million documents stolen from [Panama City-based law firm Mossack Fonseca] should automatically be considered a whistleblower like himself. Instead, he said, the hacking ... could have been done by a U.S. intelligence agency. "The CIA I'm sure is behind this, in my opinion," Birkenfeld said, [pointing] to the fact that the political uproar created by the disclosures have mainly impacted countries with tense relationships with the United States. "If you've got NSA and CIA spying on foreign governments they can certainly get into a law firm like this," Birkenfeld said. "They selectively bring the information to the public domain that doesn't hurt the U.S.. That's wrong. And there's something seriously sinister here behind this."
A USA Today analysis of more than 1,000 American-based companies registered by Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the heart of the Panama Papers leak, casts the United States openly into an uncomfortable role: an offshore haven of corporate secrecy for wealthy business operations across the globe. Both Nevada and Wyoming have become secretive havens much like Bermuda and Switzerland have long been. And at least 150 companies set up by Mossack Fonseca in those states have ties to major corruption scandals in Brazil and Argentina. The corporate records of 1,000-plus Nevada business entities linked to the Panamanian law firm reveal layers of secretive ownership, with few having humans' names behind them, and most tracing back to a tiny number of overseas addresses. For about 700 of the American shell companies, the corporate officers are business entities rather than people, meaning no individual is linked to the Nevada firm in state records. Matthew Gardner, executive director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, [said], “We should be thinking about this as a very American problem, and a problem that arguably is worse here in the states than it is in Panama.” In Wyoming, where Mossack Fonseca has also registered about two dozen companies, corporations are even harder to trace. Mossack Fonseca defended its practices and said incorporating companies in different jurisdictions is “the normal activity of lawyers and agents around the world.”
Note: A 2015 Guardian newspaper article further describes how the US helps the super-rich hide assets. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing financial industry corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Important Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.