There are few better positioned to explain the relevance of the #PanamaPapers scandal than offshore tax haven specialist David Marchant. Just over a year ago, the Offshorealert.com editor exposed now collapsed Belvedere, a global Ponzi scheme masterminded by South Africans Cobus Kellermann and David Cosgrove.
In this interview with Biznews.com’s Alec Hogg, Marchant unpacks the relevance of 11.5m mostly top secret client documents leaked from the files of Panama-headquartered law firm Mossack Fonseca. Marchant explains why the information keeps making international headlines and suggests what we’ve seen so far is only the start.
Alec Hogg: It’s a privilege as always, to have an opportunity to chat to David Marchant, the proprietor and editor of OffshoreAlert.com. You might remember (about a year ago), that David was very instrumental in bringing the Belvedere Group of companies to book. That whole organisation, which was put together by two South Africans, has since collapsed, losing billions of Dollars for those who trusted them. David, the big story of the moment is the Panama Papers. Have you been following it?
David Marchant: Yes. That lead was coordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and I know the guy who hedged that. He’s spoken at one of our conferences before and in fact, has agreed to speak on the Panama papers at our next conference in Miami in three weeks’ time. They might actually be making a big announcement regarding the data at our event so yes; I’ve been following it like everyone else around the world.
It appears that they took a year to process the data – 11.5 million documents, emails, copies of passports etcetera. Is everything out in the open?
Well, no. Everything’s not out in the open and actually, the potential big announcement that they might be making at our event when the head (Gerard Ryall) speaks, will concern access/possible access to the information. It’s all somewhat up in the air at the moment. When it comes to a leak of that size, it’s almost a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’.