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The Panama Papers, Explained: Making Sense of the Biggest Data Leak in History

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Talk about a mic drop ...

This week, the world was introduced to the mother of all data dumps. The Panama Papers is a global investigation of 11.5 million confidential documents that provide detailed information about thousands of offshore "shell" companies used by some of the world's most powerful people -- including multiple heads of state --  to conceal wealth or avoid paying taxes.

The files were taken from Mossack Fonseca, a large Panama-based law firm, and anonymously leaked last year to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. They were subsequently shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and other media outlets, but not publicly unveiled  until the story broke on Sunday.

The revelations have already had major political fallout, shining light on potential high level corruption and sparking a series of international criminal investigations.  On Tuesday, Iceland’s prime minister become the first major casualty of the massive leak, abruptly stepping down from office after reports surfaced that his family had sheltered large sums of money in an offshore account.

Explore these creative interactives, produced by ICIJ, to get a better understanding of the scope and implications of the Panama Papers, the key players involved and why the leak is making a lot of power people nervous.




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