As the world gets yet another wake-up call over how the rich and famous hide their money from the taxman, Portugal has seen 244 national companies, 23 ‘private clients’, 34 beneficiaries and 255 shareholders implicated in the Panama Papers scandal, set against a scenario that suggests as much as €2.3 million escape Portugal everyday for offshore tax havens.
With the public ministry “accompanying the situation”, the bottom line is that “if facts arise that integrate the practice of crimes”, prosecutions will follow.
But nothing will come easy.
National tabloid Correio da Manhã explains that without political will to outlaw operations that attract the rich and famous (as well as infamous), nothing can really ever change.
And as the Panama Papers are showing, the world’s politicians are in this scandal up to their necks and beyond.
For a look at how much and how many people in Portugal have been hiding their money from the taxman while everyday working folk are hounded if they try to do anything ‘on the quiet’, see our paper edition out on Thursday.
Today, national papers are full of the scandal and its implications, tracing connections to Brazil’s Car Wash scandal and suggesting this is “just the tip of the iceberg”.
Many more national investigations are bound to benefit from the information published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists on the basis of 11.5 million leaked documents from archives of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.
Público suggests national investigators working on corruption and money-laundering cases like Furacão and Monte Branco will have a field day.
Information on BPN, BES and much more is expected to follow as CM is already publishing pages on the interconnecting webs of intrigue.
It is CM that suggests “more than €2.3 million flees daily” from the Portuguese taxman into “diverse offshores spread throughout the world”.
According to figures released by the Bank of Portugal for 2015, more than €864 million left last year – marking the first ‘increase’ in numbers that had been slowing previously due to various tax ‘amnesties’, like the RERT regime (exceptional tax regularisation) brought in by José Sócrates’ government and which flagged all kinds of top names, including that of former BES boss Ricardo Salgado, currently on €3 million bail spread over two cases in which he is suspected of fraud, IT falsification, money-laundering and abuse of confidence.