Orbital View: Just Peachy

Documents leaked Sunday from a Panama-based firm purport to show corruption and questionable business practices of world leaders, politicians, and others.

Documents leaked Sunday from a Panama-based firm, which sells offshore shell companies, purport to show corruption and questionable business practices of the world’s politicians, billionaires, entertainers, athletes, drug barons, and others.

At the heart of the nearly four decades of records from Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm, are the names of people in more than 200 countries and territories. The 11.5 million records reveal the offshore holdings of 12 current and former leaders—among them the Saudi king, the pro-Western president of Ukraine, and the leaders of Iceland and Pakistan.

The papers appear to show Mossack Fonseca helped its clients launder money, dodge sanctions, and avoid paying taxes. Offshore services are not always illegal, but the documents released Sunday appear to reveal a clandestine web of shell companies, their real owners concealed under layers of secrecy, and connections to firms in different tax havens. The individual or group behind the leak is unknown, but the documents were published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Süddeutsche Zeitung, the German newspaper, and several news organizations around the world, including the BBC, after a yearlong investigation.