A Turkish court has sentenced journalist Pelin Ünker to 13 months' imprisonment for her participation in reporting the Panama Papers, a massive leak of documents from the tax-evasion enablers Mossack-Fonseca.
Read the rest “Someone's finally going to jail over the Panama Papers: a Turkish journalist who reported true facts from them”
The New York Times has published an investigation into infamous American mass shootings and found that a significant proportion of mass shooters go on credit-card fueled spending sprees prior to their acts of terror, and that these shooters worry (needlessly, as it turns out) that their unusual credit-card spending will be flagged by financial institutions, resulting in their cards being frozen.
Read the rest “Credit card activity as a predictor of mass shootings”
Dan Gillmor (previously) writes that journalism is at a crisis point, as authoritarian politicians (including, but not limited to, Trump) step up their attacks on the free press, even assassinating their sharpest critics.
Read the rest “To rescue journalism, journalists must collaborate to defend free expression, not merely condemning Trump”
The Signals Network is a nonprofit that supports independent investigative journalism; they're financially supporting a consortium of five international media groups Die Zeit (Germany), Mediapart (France), The Daily Telegraph (UK), The Intercept (US) and WikiTtribune (Global) as they investigate misuse of "big data."
Read the rest “Nonprofit will coordinate 30 global investigative journalists to report leaked stories of big data abuse”
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists teamed up with the Norbert Zongo Cell for Investigative Journalism (Cenozo) to delve deep into 27.5 million files from the Offshore Leaks, Swiss Leaks, Panama Papers and Paradise Papers to investigate how the super-rich in 15 West African countries have looted their countries' wealth and then smuggled it offshore through a network of tax-havens, even as their countries starve.
Read the rest “Mining the Panama Papers and other leaks to reveal the hidden looting of West Africa by its corrupt elite”
One cute side-effect of Brexit is that it got the UK out of pending EU rules limiting financial secrecy as part of a crackdown on money laundering by looting dictators, one percenters, and criminals; the Tories had put a process in train to come up with a made-in-Britain version, which was always going to be weaksauce thanks to the outsize influence of the City of London and its finance bosses on UK politics, but even that was killed by Theresa May's disastrous snap elections last year.
Read the rest “Bipartisan amendment forces UK government to impose transparency on its offshore tax havens”
If you're a child of the seventies, you'll probably remember that while the sitcom Happy Days aired from 1974 to 1984, it was set in Milwaukee in the late fifties.
Ok, so in 1980, an animated spin-off series called The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang hit the Saturday morning cartoon circuit, lasting just two years. In those two seasons, they meet a "future chick" named Cupcake and are accidentally hurled through time and space in a janky spaceship with Mr. Cool, a talking dog. This quasi-educational show (which has Wolfman Jack as its narrator) chronicles their journey trying to get back to 1957, but first they jump to significant historical time and places, like the Salem Witch Trials.
So, it's a cartoon, made for early-eighties kids, of fifties youth bouncing around in time trying to get back to 1957. Sure... why not?.
If you have the time (heh), watch all of Season 1 and Season 2.
If you're wondering, this cartoon happened two years after Robin Williams landed a small role as Mork on the live-action Happy Days (which eventually turned into the spin-off, Mork & Mindy) and just three years after the Fonz jumped the shark.
Ayyy... Can you dig it?
(Weird Universe) Read the rest “When Fonzie and the Happy Days gang time traveled”
HMRC, the British tax authority, is 'struggling to deal with fallout of Paradise Papers leak,' according to Parliament's public accounts committee, whose new report describes an already understaffed agency whose workload has been increased by the preparations for Brexit.
Read the rest “UK tax authority, gutted by austerity and buried by Brexit, can't deal with the crime revealed by the Paradise Papers”
The financial secrecy regimes in New Zealand and the UK create many opportunities for "jurisdictional regulatory arbitrage," playing each system's weaknesses off against the other to operate in near-perfect secrecy, creating companies whose owners are anonymized but still able to cash out the firms' profits -- an enormous boon to fraudsters who run Ponzi schemes and other dodgy enterprises that rely on the UK and New Zealands' reputation as places of good governance and financial uprightness.
Read the rest “Anatomy of how crooks use financial secrecy in the UK and New Zealand to rip off international investors with impunity”
Kleptocrat is an Ios-only mobile game that challenges players to play as billionaire tax-dodgers, who construct ruses to hide their money from the tax authorities in the countries where the state guards their wealth, educates the workforce, and keeps everyone from dropping dead of infectious diseases.
Read the rest “Simklept: Kleptocrat is a mobile game that uses real-world financial crimes to simulate being a tax-dodging one percenter”
The EU's new blacklist of 17 money-laundering financial secrecy states includes South Korea, Mongolia, Namibia, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, and also includes a long-list of places like Guam, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.
Read the rest “Treasure Islands: EU publishes a blacklist of 17 tax-havens and a long-list of runner-up tax avoidance jurisdictions”
The New York Times has collaborated with Berkeley economics prof Gabriel Zucman to produce an interactive explainer that walks through the baroque tax-evasion strategies deployed by multinationals like Google and Apple, as well as the super-rich, using plain language and explanatory graphics to get past the deliberately eye-glazing tedium of these arrangements, a shield of boringness that has allowed the super-rich to hide $8.7 trillion from tax authorities while taking advantage of national courts, education, roads, police, and health care.
Read the rest “Excellent, plain-language explainer on corporate and 1 percenter tax evasion, with a simple solution”
1.4TB/13.4 million documents have leaked from Appleby, the offshore law-firm that is part of the "magic circle" of firms employed by the super-rich to manipulate their finances; the documents are supplemented with another "offshore provider"'s files, and the company registries of 19 tax havens.
Read the rest “The Paradise Papers: another tax-shelter leak implicates Apple, Trump, Putin, Hollywood, Twitter, Facebook, the Queen and more”
Daphne Caruana Galizia, one of the lead journalists on the Panama Papers story, has been assassinated by a car-bomb in the town of Bidnija in northern Malta. Read the rest “Panama Papers journalist assassinated by car bomb in Malta”
On Friday, a variety of news outlets around the world published the Malta Files, a cache of 150,000 documents leaked "from a Malta-based provider of legal, financial and corporate services," revealing, among other things, that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was secretly given a $25M oil tanker (!) by Azeri billionaire Mübariz Mansimov, a "friend" of Trump's who was present at the inauguration. Read the rest “The Malta Files: a European version of the Panama Papers, revealing a global web of corruption”