The Panama Papers leak earlier this year was reportedly the biggest whistleblowing leak in history. It related to over 11.5 million files, and a taskforce was set up to investigate and analyse it.
While media coverage has lost momentum in recent months, the taskforce has been busy. They’ve released their first update, which highlights the key progress they’ve made.
-Civil and criminal investigations into 22 individuals suspected of tax evasion
-Identifying leads to a major insider-trading operation
-Identifying nine potential professional enablers of economic crime
-Placing 43 high net worth individuals under special review.
The HMRC’s Director General for Customer Compliance, Jennie Granger, said, ‘the net is closing in on tax evasion and economic crime. There are no safe havens for hiding money offshore. The majority of individuals and businesses pay their fair share. It’s on their behalf that the taskforce has made so much progress on so many fronts’.
This statement is a little ambitious. It’s questionable whether there are no safe havens for those involved.
But, it does highlight the government’s strides to bring to account those involved in tax evasion and/or financial crime.
How many of the individuals identified will be held to account, and what actions will be taken, remains to be seen. But things are moving swiftly in the right direction.
More than 30 individuals and companies are under active investigation for criminal or serious civil offences linked to tax fraud and financial wrongdoing uncovered by the Panama Papers Taskforce partners, with hundreds more under detailed review. The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Home Secretary have today, 8 November, published an update on the work of the Panama Papers Taskforce.