Recently there has been a mass media scandal at one of the largest data leaks of all time; the revelation of some documents known as the Panama Papers. The Panama Papers are made up of 11.5 million files from the database of the fourth biggest offshore law firm in the world, Mossack Fonseca. The leak of the files was undeniably both miraculous and unexpected, with the files being obtained by a German source from a German newspaper, who has remained anonymous. The newspaper then shared these with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), who finally shared the leaked data with some of the largest news companies in the UK, the BBC and the Guardian both included.
A Trail to Putin
The Panama Papers displayed how a huge number of rich individuals, including the Prime Minister David Cameron, manage to dodge paying taxes, essentially. Several other world leaders have also been exposed as having involvement in part of this scheme- and there is a massive trail of $2 billion that leads right to Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
However, smartly enough, they actually kind of lead up to Putin and then stop. It’s actually one of Putin’s friends who has been found at the centre of the problem, stashing millions of dollars at the offshore account and re investing in ventures back in Russia, including a fancy ski resort at which Putin’s daughter actually got married. So whilst it seems likely that Putin has a huge stash of cash flowing from an offshore account right back to Russia, there is literally no direct mention of Putin or his own funds- just his friend. So what does this mean?
Causing a Stir in the UK
Well, when it was revealed that David Cameron, the UK prime minister, had funds in this offshore account, Britain went wild, with a trending hashtag on Twitter demanding that he resign as prime minister. What he did was wrong and the British public were so done with the lies and the inappropriate behaviour of someone who seemed to be doing wrong thing after wrong thing, slowly running the country into the ground. Now, because there is no direct link to Putin, only to his friend, the leak of the Panama Papers will have absolutely no impact on his presidential powers, his leaderships and respect from the country, because it appears as though he has done nothing wrong- and with the rest of the world trying to drag Putin in to the whole data leak and try and place him in the wrong, it makes them look foolish, and like the world has an issue with Putin. It also makes the leak of the papers look like a manufactured set up to try and destroy Russia’s leader, like it was done to try and get Putin in trouble- but to no avail, because he was somehow one step ahead.
So does this mean that Putin could have leaked the papers himself, in order to make it look like the world leaders want him gone? To try and prove to his country that Europe and the US have an issue with Russia, and Putin? And this would of course lead to a disruption in world peace. Furthermore, it would prove just how much control Putin has over, essentially, the entire world. And now the world leaders know this, they will be more likely to bow down to any demands Russia has, for fear of more secrets being exposed.
Did Russia expose these papers? It’s likely they did, and it definitely would have been beneficial to them…but it’s also likely that we’re probably never going to know for sure.