Massive Leak of Data Reveals Money-Hiding Secrets of Superrich—and This Is ‘Only the Beginning’
BIG BROTHER - SPYING - SURVEILLANCE - WHISTLEBLOWING, EUROPE, CAPITALISM, 16 Dec 2019
“It’s hard to overstate how notorious and suspicious the firm is.”
4 Dec 2019 – A massive trove of documents, data, and recorded phone calls showing how British company Formations House works to hide money for the superrich is being reported on by journalists all over the world, with the first stories dropping today at midnight.
The reporting is being done under the name “29 Leaks,” a reference to Formations House’s original address at 29 Harley Street in London. The data was leaked to the group Distributed Denial of Secrets over the summer.
“It takes a concerted effort from a large number of people to make substantive headway on an investigation like this, in which a large amount of data needs to be quickly processed and examined,” Claire Peters, executive director of the Pursuance Project, told Unicorn Riot on Tuesday.
Peters and Pursuance Project outreach director Annalise Burkhart led a team of reporters from around the world uncovering and detailing the information stored in the huge, roughly 100 GB-sized trove of data.
“Formations House was the perfect example of a ‘one-stop shop’ for creating legal entities that serve as fronts for fraudulent operations and money laundering,” said Burkhart. “In only a matter of days, a client could purchase offshore companies bundled into packages touting minimal compliance requirements, tax-free operations, and anonymity for directors and shareholders.”
“It’s hard to overstate how notorious and suspicious the firm is,” Boing Boing wrote of Formations House when the leak’s existence became public in July.
According to Unicorn Riot, reporting from the data will have an international scope:
Formations House has been the subject of international scrutiny for years, and the #29Leaks documents have been under investigation for some time. It is expected that news stories in Central America, Africa and Europe will examine information drawn from this set of leaks. The use of Formations House-managed companies to move money around between offshore and private banking centers like Luxembourg and other parts of the world is among the main themes of this dataset. Other documents expected to be covered in detail show how the African nation of The Gambia is commonly used to create banks and insurance companies on paper for wealthy people in other continents, which Formations House and related parties package and facilitate.
On Tuesday [3 Dec] The Times of London showed, via undercover reporting, how Formations House sets up shell companies for its clients.
Today's front page splash with the @thetimes: The family-run business behind a global web of shell companies, banks and tax havens used by mobsters and scammers. Watch our undercover sting: https://t.co/KGdnZUNI5R #29Leaks
— Christian Eriksson (@YourCodship) December 4, 2019
McClatchy reported on how Formations House helped Iran’s national oil company avoid sanctions. The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project detailed schemes across Eastern Europe. The Economic Times, meanwhile, dug into the comapny’s Pakistani-British management.
More reporting will come, said the Pursuance Project’s Peters.
“There’s much more work to be done with this data,” said Peters, “we’re only at the beginning.”
Eoin Higgins is senior editor and staff writer for Common Dreams.
Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.
Tags: Capitalism, Conflict, Corruption, Development, Economics, Investigative Journalism, Journalism, Justice, Media, Politics, Power, UK, Violence, Whistleblowing
DISCLAIMER: The statements, views and opinions expressed in pieces republished here are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of TMS. In accordance with title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. TMS has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is TMS endorsed or sponsored by the originator. “GO TO ORIGINAL” links are provided as a convenience to our readers and allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “GO TO ORIGINAL” links. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Click here to go to the current weekly digest or pick another article:
BIG BROTHER - SPYING - SURVEILLANCE - WHISTLEBLOWING:
- NSA Whistleblower Reveals Covert Torture Program
- Hacking COVID-19
- Inside the NSA’s Secret Tool for Mapping Your Social Network
- Italy: Sold to Big Pharma
- Germany's Farewell to US Troops: Fewer Soldiers Means More Peace
- Germany's Merkel Rejects Trump Invite to Attend G7 Summit in Washington