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The Panama Papers and Thomas Piketty

How the Leak May Transform Politics

Protesters call on Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to resign after two members of his government were named in the Panama Papers leak scandal, in Malta, April 2016. Darrin Zammit / Reuters

The Panama Papers—the massive collection of leaked documents from Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm that helps set up offshore shell corporations—have already had political consequences. Iceland’s prime minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, resigned after the leak revealed that he had partly owned an offshore firm. David Cameron, the British prime minister, is facing criticism over an offshore company that his father set up. In Brazil, many of the people connected to the country’s unfolding corruption scandal appear to have held offshore shell companies set up by Mossack Fonseca. And in Russia, Sergei Roldugin, a cellist who is a close friend of Vladimir Putin, appears to control assets of over $100 million. Roldugin has claimed that this fortune is the result of donations from Russian businessmen to help buy expensive musical instruments for poor students. Clearly, classical music has some very generous friends among the Russian business elite.

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