Thursday, 12 May 2016

Federal Election 2016: looking at the ICIJ Panama Papers searchable database

Some observations after an initial look at the ICIJ Panama Papers searchable database* (which includes Offshore Leaks data), with regard to listings of companies and individuals associated with Australia……

For some who are listed it appears to be a bit of a family affair, for others a lone foray into off-shore company registration.

Some associated with registered companies are investors, while others are active players in the mining, smelting, construction, manufacturing, banking, finance, risk management, insurance and marketing sectors.

There’s the odd investment manager or two, at least one specialist in fine art, some professional property directors and company secretaries, self-employed consultants and a media type.

One of Australia’s rich listers and a National Party politician (appointed not elected) also make appearances on this database.

As does a company which had as directors one multimillionaire former Labor premier of NSW and another multimillionaire who who went on to be a Liberal prime minister – for reasons unknown full details of this company have not been included in the searchable section of the ICIJ database to date.

What there doesn’t appear to be any indication of is that ordinary workers on the average wage went to Mossack Fonceca or other financial advisors to set up a companies in a low taxing jurisdiction such as Panama, the British Virgin Islands, Singapore or Hong Kong.

Off-shore registration appears to be something indulged in primarily by business and industry in this country as well as those with above average to high levels of personal wealth.

The very groups that Turnbull & Co have given company and income tax cuts in the 2016-17 Budget.

Inevitably there are 2014-15 political donors among those listed on the databases and, just as inevitably, there are some who give more to the Liberals and their Coalition partner than they do to Labor.

Before voting on 2 July 2016 readers might consider clicking on the search link at the beginning of this post and typing in a few individual and company names, to see how these might compare with the known interests of election candidates and those political donors included in documents held at the Australian Electoral Commission Annual Returns Locator Service.  

Where people spend, invest or gift their money says something about their personal and professional ethics.  

* It is not asserted by the creators of these databases that every individual or corporation identified has been involved in unlawful tax evasion or any other form of wrongdoing.

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