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Summary

  1. Companies subject to international sanctions helped by Panamanian law firm
  2. Credit Suisse and HSBC dismiss claims
  3. David Cameron under pressure over tax havens in UK overseas territories
  4. Panama a 'stand-out bad guy' in terms of tax haven secrecy

Live Reporting

By Tom Espiner, Chris Johnston and Matthew West

All times stated are UK

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  1. Panama Papers recap

    Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson

    That's all from the Live page for tonight.

    To briefly recap the main points from today:

    • Iceland PM Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson resigned - the first major casualty of the leaked Panama Papers that have shone a spotlight on offshore finance
    • Fifa president Gianni Infantino signed off on a TV rights contract with businessmen subsequently accused of bribery, leaked documents showed
    • France returned Panama to a list of countries which fail to co-operate over tax evasion
    • Panama said it is considering retaliatory measures against France, but reiterated that is ready to co-operate with any investigations stemming from the leaks
    • In Chile the head of anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International's country branch, Gonzalo Delaveau, stepped down after his name emerged in the documents
    • US President Barack Obama said tax avoidance is a global problem and governments should not make it easy for illegal funds to move around the world
    • Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ordered a judicial investigation into allegations of family links with offshore companies
  2. German chancellor calls for greater tax transparency

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel and top economic officials have called for greater transparency in the wake of the publication of thousands of names of people who conducted offshore financial activity through a Panamanian law firm.

    Ms Merkel said the allegations show "the theme of transparency is of the greatest importance." 

    OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria said it was an "exceptional situation which we should profit from" by pressing Panama to join international financial disclosure agreements.

    World Bank President Jim Yong Kim called it "an opportunity to continue and aggressively move forward to find how these illicit financial flows are moving." 

  3. Fifa head: 'No indication of any wrongdoing'

    Fifa president Gianni Infantino

    Fifa president Gianni Infantino has made this statement after it emerged he signed off on a contract with two businessmen who have since been accused of bribery:

    Quote Message: I am dismayed and will not accept that my integrity is being doubted by certain areas of the media, especially given that Uefa has already disclosed in detail all facts regarding these contracts. From the moment I was made aware of the latest media enquiries on the matter, I immediately contacted Uefa to seek clarity. I did this because I am no longer with Uefa, and it is they who exclusively possess all contractual information relating to this query. In the meantime, Uefa has announced that it has been conducting a review of its numerous commercial contracts and has answered extensively all media questions related to these specific contracts. As I previously stated, I never personally dealt with Cross Trading nor their owners as the tender process was conducted by Team Marketing on behalf of Uefa. I would like to state for the record that neither Uefa nor I have ever been contacted by any authorities in relation to these particular contracts. Moreover, as media themselves report, there is no indication whatsoever for any wrongdoings from neither Uefa nor myself in this matter."
  4. Q&A: British overseas territories and Crown dependencies

    Union flag

    Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said the government should consider imposing "direct rule" on the 14 British overseas territories and three Crown dependencies if they do not comply with UK tax law. It follows a leak of documents from Panama-based Mossack Fonseca that showed the law firm registered more than 100,000 secret companies to the British Virgin Islands, one of the overseas territories.

    What are Crown dependencies?

    Read more here.

  5. Panama Papers: Nobility and brothel owners named in leaks

    BBC Berlin correspondent Jenny Hill writes...

    Shoes

    The list of Germans named in the Panama papers makes for colourful reading.

    Among the board directors and estate agents who appear to have benefited from shell companies established by Mossack Fonseca are members of the German nobility, recipients of the German honours system and a number of brothel owners.

    Read more here.

  6. Q&A: British overseas territories and direct rule

    The Union flag flying in the Falkland Islands

    There is a call for the UK government to consider imposing "direct rule" on its overseas territories and Crown dependencies if they do not comply with tax law. 

    But exactly what is their relationship with the UK?

    Q&A: British territories and direct rule

    The Union flag flying in the Falkland Islands

    There is a call for the government to consider imposing "direct rule" on British overseas territories and Crown dependencies if they do not comply with UK tax law. What is their relationship with the UK?

    Read more
    next
  7. British Virgin Islands 'very concerned' about Panama Papers alleged abuse

    Clouds are seen above the island of Nevis

    The British Virgin Islands (BVI), long known as a tax haven, has this to say about the Panama Papers leaks:

    Quote Message: The government of the BVI is very concerned by the issues that the ICIJ report raises, particularly regarding alleged abuse or misuse of BVI structures. Our regulatory regime is rigorous and it adheres to every initiative of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and other international standard setting organisations. We play a constructive role in the furtherance of international transparency, information exchange and anti-money-laundering initiatives at the highest levels and we continue to work closely with the UK and other governments internationally to help progress the financial reform agenda... The BVI actively investigates issues of non-compliance and works with foreign competent authorities to detect, prevent and prosecute illegal activities, ensuring that our laws are enforced and action taken transparently when we identify wrongdoing... The BVI plays a lawful, legitimate and important role in facilitating capital flows and foreign direct investment around the globe."
  8. German nobility and brothel owners in Panama leaks

    Among those named in the leak from Panama are German nobility and a number of brothel owners, writes the BBC's Jenny Hill in Berlin

    Escort girls await customers in Berlin night club

    German nobility and brothel owners in Panama leaks

    Escort girls await customers at Berlin's exclusive Night Club Bel Ami on May 16, 2006 in Berlin

    Among those named in the leak from a Panama legal firm are German nobility and a number of brothel owners, writes Jenny Hill in Berlin.

    Read more
    next
  9. Uefa: Rights sold after 'open, competitive tender process'

    Following news that Fifa's new president Gianni Infantino signed off on a contract with two businessmen who have since been accused of bribery, a Uefa spokesman that the football rights were sold following an "open, competitive tender process".

    He added that a bid from Teleamazonas was accepted because it was "considerably more" than that from a rival broadcaster.

    The spokesman added that what Teleamazonas then did with those rights was "their business, not ours". Uefa points out the Cross Trading contract was one of many hundreds of deals it conducts in relation to Champions League TV rights and comprises a tiny amount of its overall income.

    "The TV contract in question was signed by Gianni Infantino since he was one of several Uefa directors empowered to sign contracts at the time," read a Uefa statement. "As you will have observed, the contract was also co-signed by another Uefa director. It's standard practice." 

  10. Fifa head 'named on rights contract'

    Chelsea footballer Didier Drogba has a shot on goal against Barcelona during a Champions League Group A football match

    Mr Infantino is named on a Uefa Champions League football rights contract with a firm called Cross Trading. The contract concerns Uefa Ecuadorian rights between 2006/7 and 2008/9.

    Cross Trading, an offshore company registered to the tiny Pacific island of Niue, paid $111,000 for those rights. Then, according to leaked documents, it sold those to Ecuadorian TV broadcaster Teleamazonas for $311,170. Cross Trading also paid $28,000 for the rights to the Uefa Super Cup, selling those to Teleamazonas for $126,200.

    There is no evidence to suggest Mr Infantino received a bribe relating to the 2006 contract with Cross Trading. At the time, he was the director of legal services with European football's governing body, Uefa.

    The owners of Cross Trading, the Jinkis - father Hugo and son Mariano - are currently fighting extradition from Argentina to the US.

    In May 2015, US prosecutors alleged that they paid millions of dollars in bribes over several years to South American football officials in order to gain lucrative television rights for regional football tournaments.   

  11. BreakingInfantino contract among Panama Papers

    Infantino will serve as Fifa president for three years

    Fifa's new president Gianni Infantino signed off on a contract with two businessmen who have since been accused of bribery, leaked documents reveal.

    Hugo and Mariano Jinkis bought TV rights for Uefa Champions League Football and then immediately sold them on for almost three times the price.

    The 2006 contract, which was signed off by Infantino when he was a director of Uefa, was among the 11 million documents leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

    Read more here.

  12. Corbyn 'hopelessly misinformed' about tax havens

    Boating in Grand Cayman

    Jeremy Corbyn earlier said the UK should consider imposing direct orders in crown territories including the Cayman Islands to make sure they don't become "a place for systemic evasion and short-changing of the public". 

    But Anthony Travers, the chairman of the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange, told Anna Foster on 5 Live Drive that Mr Corbyn's comments were "hopelessly misinformed".

    Quote Message: Over the last 15 years the legislation that has been passed in the Cayman Islands provides for complete tax transparency for HMRC and the IRS and for other EU tax authorities and indeed for law enforcement. So there is no secrecy with regard to transactions in the Cayman Islands whatsoever and I think the position here needs to be distinguished from jurisdictions like Panama where there is no such transparency. The suggestion that there is any sort of covert or non-disclosed activity in the Cayman Islands is redundant. Tax haven is a redundant expression when it comes to the Cayman Islands."
  13. Obama: 'Tax loopholes hurt the middle class'

    Barack Obama addressing the media in the White House - Tuesday 5 April 2016

    US President Barack Obama has called for greater efforts to tackle aggressive tax avoidance.

    He said that tax rules could be better enforced so that large sections of society did not end up paying the bill for "wealthy individuals and powerful corporations" using tax loopholes:

    Quote Message: A lot of these loopholes come at the expense of these middle-class families because that lost revenue has to be made up somewhere. Alternatively, it means that we're not investing as much as we should in schools, in making college more affordable, putting people back to work, rebuilding our roads, our bridges, our infrastructure, creating more opportunities for our children." from Barack Obama
    Barack Obama

    Mr Obama said the US Treasury had already taken some measures, but Congress needed to act to close these loopholes.

    He has repeatedly called for action by the Republican-controlled Congress to legislate against "inversions", when companies change their headquarters to another country to avoid US corporation tax rates, which vary from 15% to 39%.

  14. Just how big was the Panama Papers leak?

    Map showing relative size of leaks

    It's worth repeating just how vast a leak this was: the biggest of its kind.

    In technical terms, it was 2.6 terrabytes, the equivalent of 2,600 gigabytes.

    You may remember the WikiLeaks/Cablegate leaks a few years ago - that in itself was a huge amount of data, some 1.7 gigabytes.

    But Panama Papers was 1,529 times larger: in real terms, that's roughly the difference between the population of San Francisco and that of India.

  15. Pakistan commission to probe allegations in Panama Papers

    Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

    Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has set up a high-level commission, to be headed by a retired Supreme Court judge, to investigate allegations that his family has links to offshore companies.

    The BBC’s Shahzeb Jillani in Pakistan said the Prime Minister made the announcement in a televised address to the nation.

    Quote Message: This commission will decide after its investigation what is reality and how much weight these allegations [have]." from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
    Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

    Opposition leaders have been calling for an investigation following the revelations in the leaked documents from the Panama-based company.

    On Monday, one of Mr Sharif's sons, Hussain, said all the family’s business affairs were legal, adding they had done "nothing wrong". 

  16. 'Moral indignation is cheap' says Treasury committee chairman

    Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie has said that Mossack Fonseca "may well have exposed serious wrongdoing" but that "comprehensive remedies may be difficult to find".

    Quote Message: Moral indignation is cheap, but doing something constructive will require painstaking work, and a great deal of investigation and negotiation on the part of HMRC and the government, often with international counterparties. They certainly appear to be making an effort. Perhaps more than at any time since the 1980s, work against unacceptable tax practices has been developed over the last six years. The government’s, and HMRC’s, objectives - to collect the correct amount of tax and clamp down on illegality – require a great deal of transparency. The government will need to press for more. It is particularly important to avoid merely driving business into jurisdictions which lack the necessary transparency. That would increase the risk of money laundering and other serious financial crime."
  17. Iceland's PM first major Panama Papers casualty

    Protesters outside Iceland's parliament on Monday 4 April 2016
    Image caption: Protesters gathered outside parliament on Monday

    Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson is the first major casualty of the Panama Papers leaks, which have shed an embarrassing spotlight on the world of offshore finance.

    "The prime minister told [his party's] parliamentary group meeting that he would step down as prime minister and I will take over," Agriculture Minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson.

    He is the Progressive Party's deputy leader.

    Mr Gunnlaugsson, who had refused to resign on Monday, has denied any wrongdoing.

    He did not declare an interest in the offshore company, Wintris, when entering parliament in 2009.

    He sold his 50% of the company to his wife, Anna Sigurlaug Palsdottir, for $1 (70p), eight months later.

  18. BreakingIceland's PM resigns after Panama Papers revelations

    Iceland"s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson (C)

    Iceland’s prime minister has resigned in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal.

    The leaks, from Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca, showed PM Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson owned an offshore company, Wintris, with his wife.

    He was accused of concealing millions of dollars worth of family assets.

    A big protest was held in front of parliament in Iceland on Monday.  

  19. Panama Papers: How did Panama become a tax haven?

    Panama

    A huge leak of documents from a Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca, has thrown new light on how the rich and powerful hide their wealth. It has also brought renewed attention on Panama itself, one of the world's best-known tax havens.

    But what makes Panama different from other low or no-tax jurisdictions and how did it become this way?

    Read more here.

  20. World Have Your Say: Panama Papers

    BBC World Service

    How would you stop tax avoidance?

    The significance of the Panama Papers revelations will be discussed on BBC World Have Your Say at 17:00.

    Ben James will put your questions to tax experts and we’ll hear if the leak will affect the fight against tax avoidance.

    Guests include a Danish professor who trained in wealth management and travelled the world working in finance to get an insight into the practices of offshore banking.

    Tweet any questions to @bbc_whys

    And you can listen to the show here.