Panama Papers: The case of the silent watchdog


Back in the fictional London of 1897, if criminals struck the prominent, there was only one person to call, Sherlock Holmes.

In The Adventure of Silver Blaze, Arthur Conan Doyle wrote about the case of a famous racehorse, abducted before a major race.

After visiting the scene of the crime, a rural farm, Holmes discusses his findings with Inspector Gregory of Scotland Yard, when the Inspector asks a question:

“Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”

“To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”

“The dog did nothing in the night-time.”

“That was the curious incident,” remarked Sherlock Holmes.

Needless to say, as Holmes had correctly inferred, the case was an inside job.

Fast forward 119 years and the same question is equally relevant in the wake of the Panama Papers leak, that massive cache of data revealing the names of the members of the global elite — including some of the planet’s mpost powerful drug cartels and criminal syndicates — who available themselves of the services of a Panamanian law firm specializing in create covert tax shelters hidden under a bizarre network of pseudonyms and false fronts.

It’s been three months since the documents were first leaked to journalists and findings were reported in some of the planet’s leading publications and many governments have requested their own copies.

Many governments, except the government of the world’s richest nation, where no requests have come from the Department of Justice of those committees of the House of representatives and Senate charged with oversight of the institutions of power.

From the McClatchy Washington Bureau:

The inaction raises questions about the response by Congress and the Obama administration to the unprecedented leak that rocked governments in Iceland, Pakistan and the United Kingdom and prompted investigations worldwide.

“The biggest financial scandal involving offshores is greeted with a yawn by U.S. law enforcement officials?” said Charles Intriago, a former federal prosecutor and money-laundering expert in Miami. “It doesn’t make any sense that a pot of evidentiary gold is going unpursued by the U.S. Department of Justice.”

In the weeks following the April 3 publication of stories across the globe about hidden offshore fortunes, President Barack Obama vowed to work with Congress to tackle reform aimed at offshore companies. His Justice Department declared that it “takes very seriously all credible allegations of high-level, foreign corruption that might have a link to the United States or the U.S. financial system.”

Yet as of June 23, Panama said it had not received a single request from the United States for access to the data seized by Panamanian authorities from Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the heart of the Panama Papers, said Sandra Sotillo, spokeswoman for Panamanian Attorney General Kenia Porcell.

On Capitol Hill, there is also little movement.

Obama’s proposed legislation to change reporting on the true owners of companies does not appear to have found any sponsor. The White House did not respond to questions.

Odd, ain’t it?

Or maybe not, considering all that dark money that fuels the American political machine. . .

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