Follow the money
Tag Archives: PANAMA
This short video tutorial explains how to find out if citizens of your own country are involved with companies based in the offshore haven of Panama. All it takes is a little creativity and the Daniel O’Huiginn’s scraped database of Panama companies. This is a follow up to a previous video tutorial that indicates how to navigate the more complicated Panama official registry of companies. Happy fishing!
About two weeks ago I posted a blog entry and a video tutorial on how to get corporate records from the official Panama registry of companies. It turns out there is an even better way to look for data on Panama based companies. Dan O’Huiginn created an awesome tool that adds functionality to Panama company searches and allows investigators to also search by names of companies’ directors. The official database only allows searches by companies’ names. O’Huiginn scraped the database, re-indexed it and posted it online here: http://ohuiginn.net/panama The added functionality allows you to search by names of directors, find out the names of companies they own and then go back to the official registry to get the official records.
Switzerland, Panama, Cyprus and many other offshore (like in the case of Switzerland, onshore countries sometimes provide the same level of non-transparency as proper, island-based, offshore havens) havens pop up in the news each time a dictator is overthrown or almost each time a criminal network is dismantled. Hidden wealth is almost always channeled through offshore havens that provide dictators and criminals with the the much needed secrecy and the possibility of recovering money even after revolutions such as the one in Egypt. A recent New York Times article points out that Hosni Mubarak’s wealth is also owned through companies in Panama and Cyprus. A chart published on this blog indicates why Panama is a country of choice for criminals and dictators alike to hide. It allows proxy representation so that, in most cases, it is impossible o track down the real beneficiary of a business. It also has a minimum of bilateral treaties when it comes to providing information on its companies. However, there is a possibility to start investigating Panamanian based companies starting from the ID’s Worldwide Company Data section. The following video explains how to start tracking down Panama based commercial entities:
The website of a major offshore formation agent lists a comparison chart between offshore havens. Important points in this chart are why to choose, for example, Panama over other offshore jurisdictions. Secrecy is the word of the day and by studying this chart you’ll be able to understand why criminals and crooked politicians choose offshore havens as their operational base.
The Organized Crime and Corruption Project (OCCRP) investigated the world of offshores. Offshore Crime, Inc reveals how criminals have used offshore companies as fronts for drug trafficking, money laundering, weapon smuggling, monopolizing industries, privatization fraud and corrupting politicians and government officials. Worldwide, they are used by Mexican drug lords to launder money, terrorism groups to wage war, Iran and North Korea to evade sanctions and run guns and a host of other criminal acts yet undiscovered.
The investigative series is work in progress with new important findings to be published next week. All we can tell is that, in complete legality, OCCRP reporters managed to obtain bank records of some of the most important players in the offshore company formation turf