Now, thanks to the release of the “Panama papers,” we can put names on those numbers:
- Two hundred people in the United States, including four individuals who are now either accused or convicted of serious financial crimes
- Iceland’s prime minister, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, who has taken an indefinite leave of absence
- And many others, including President Mauricio Macri of Argentina; President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine; Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan; King Salman of Saudi Arabia; the former emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, and its former prime minister, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani; the Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi; the cellist Sergei Roldugin, a close friend of President Vladimir V. Putin; the president of FIFA, Gianni Infantino; Juan Armando Hinojosa, the “favorite contractor” of the Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto; President Bashar al-Assad of Syria; eight current and former members of China’s Politburo and the families of Chinese officials; and Ian Cameron, the father of Prime Minister David Cameron.
The addition of the names just serves to highlight the concentration of wealth at the very top across the world economy and the extent to which the individual members of the group will go to hide their wealth and avoid paying taxes.
The rest of us don’t have that kind of wealth and, because we can’t shelter what little we have, we end up shouldering a much higher tax burden.