Last week, the global spotlight shifted on a country, which is almost the same size as a Bindi on a feminist’s forehead: Panama. A country, with population less than Westeros, and as relevant to global economy as Hrithik Roshan’s second thumb. However, in the past one week, the entire world has been talking about it. For the uninitiated, who were busy saving earth and pouting for selfies, Panama grabbed headlines because of a massive data leak that occurred in one of their biggest law firms, Mossack Fonseca.
A group of investigating journalists who go by the name Scavengers, formed a global consortium to unearth a data set, which made a startling revelation: Rich people evade taxes and hide their wealth. Wow! That is something I would have never guessed. You know the other thing that I would have never guessed? That Donald Trump is the biggest poop on the planet.
The size of the data set is huge: 2.5 TB of data, with 11.5 million documents and 14,000 clients. To give you some perspective on how massive that is, consider this: Wiki Leaks was 1.7GB of data. Also, a regular engineering student, at any given point in time or space, carries 2TB of porn on his D:\ drive. So, I guess the answer is self-explanatory. Let’s move on.
Panama papers, or as it is being referred to in India, Mumbai Mirror, has account details of the ultra richs of the world, who wash their dirty, expensive junks in tax havens like Panama, and are above the “system” and law. The list has Russians, Europeans, Chinese, Indians, right-wingers, conservatives, liberals, heads of states, drug dealers, lawyers, businessmen, sports legends, movie stars, politicians, White walkers and the Icelanders. This leads me to the larger question: Is Iceland still a thing? Apparently yes, and had a Prime Minister, who resigned in the wake of these revelations amid massive public protest. Their official weapon of protest? Banana and some high-protein, cultured yogurt. Because, eggs, tomatoes and slippers are so fucking middle class. #TakethatKejriwal
It also brings to light that in a galaxy far, far away, these rich people co-exist, in peace and harmony, in their precious little Chateaus made of diamonds and two veils of blood of an African diamond miner, without the biases of colour, religion, nationality, and sexual orientation. The force is strong on them. They enjoy fine wine, drink-drive the fastest cars, get to hangout with Bhai, and make out with Mona Lisa on a Monday morning, while the rest of us wait for our turn at the
Mumbai Local Sulabh Sauchalaya,.
As the Panama Papers reveal, the High Net Worth Individuals hide their wealth in offshore shell companies, and the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca helped them in this financial maneuverings. These shell companies usually have no physical presence, employs no one, and produces nothing. Fun fact: They are BFFs with Kingfisher Airlines. To open a shell company in Panama is as effortless as swiping an ugly guy left on Tinder. All you have to do is to answer the greatest question facing humanity right now: What did Katrina do to get those abs. And Bazinga! You are the “beneficiary owner” of a company Batman bin Suparman Ltd and have Harry Potter, Gollum and Tyrion Lannister as its board members. Panama is currently home to 3,50,000 such registered companies, second only to Hong Kong and British Virgin Islands, or as the ISIS calls them, Jannat.
Full Disclosure: I will open an account with Mossack Fonseca as soon as I discover how to monetise my overeating.
Indians have their fair share in these papers as well. 500 of them have their names figuring in the list, under the section “2 Rs people”. Two of the most famous ones are Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. As for the prodigious son, Abhishek was seen cheerleading a cock fight and counting his leftover sodexo coupons. What I find most fascinating about these papers is presence of few retired Indian government employees. Seriously? I thought the only thing they earn during their lifetime is self-loathing. That, and some laminated copies of their life insurance policies.
As is always the case, conspiracy theories have started to build around the leak. Questions are being asked: Is a “New World Order” being created by these global elites? Why there are no Americans on the list? Is it a covert CIA operation to dethrone Putin? Is Rooh Afza the secret ingredient of the secret ingredient soup? I guess it is only a matter of time, when these questions will be answered. Perhaps India TV can throw some light on them, once they are done deciphering the psychological impact of Sasural Simar ka on an infant’s brain.
Yet, all said and done, not everything on the Panama Papers is fishy. There are perfectly legit reasons as to why the companies and individuals park their financial assets in offshore companies. Technical reasons include to decrease the risk of currency collapse in their home country, property protection, or to avoid a complex tax regulation. Some do it for fun, while others do it because their surname is phonetically similar to Kalya. Whatever the reason be, Panama papers have been an exciting new development in the morbid world dominated by secret capitalist hangouts, sonorous political debates on black money and people’s love for Brain pickings. And, till the next set of leaks happen, as they are promised by the German newspaper behind the Panama Papers, lets all keep calm and move on – To the IPL.