The offshore dealings of the world's wealthy and powerful elites were exposed on Sunday with the release of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)'s Panama Papers.

The leak is being described as the biggest in history. The 11 million documents from secretive law firm Mossack Fonseca name politicians, business people, criminals and celebrities from all over the world and the full consequences of what has been revealed are still unknown.

Nearly 40 years' worth of records show Mossack Fonseca helped incorporate more than 210,000 shell companies in 21 offshore tax havens, which are legal, but can be used for tax evasion, sanction avoidance and money laundering.


The ICIJ says that the document cache proved that offshore companies are usually only active for a short period of time.

The number managed by the firm peaked in 2009 at 81,810 active companies, and has since been in decline.

Mossack Fonseca has come under increasing scrutiny in the past few years: both the German and Brazilian governments had opened investigations into its practices ahead of the year-long investigation by the ICIJ.

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