On Lawyer2Lawyer, We Look at the Legal Issues Around the Panama Papers

An offshore investment scandal known as the Panama Papers has taken the world by storm. The controversy centers around the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca and its connections to high-ranking political figures, their relatives, celebrities, and business figures, including Iceland Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson.

Recently, a German newspaper announced that 11.5 million confidential documents between 1970 and 2015 had been leaked from the firm to journalists. These “Panama Papers” reveal how clients hid billions of dollars in offshore tax shelters and raise a host of legal issues, from tax evasion to fraud to money laundering.

This week on the legal-affairs podcast Lawyer2Lawyer, we are joined by Jessica Tillipman, assistant dean for field placement at George Washington Law School, and William Byrnes, a professor of law and an associate dean at Texas A&M University School of Law, as they take an in-depth look at the Panama Papers. They discuss Mossack Fonseca’s role, shell companies and offshore bank accounts, the issue of data security, tax evasion, investigations into these clients, and the future of Mossack Fonseca.

  • Jessica Tillipman is the assistant dean for field placement at George Washington Law School and an expert in corruption, government ethics, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. She is a senior editor of the FCPA Blog, which has been following the Panama Papers revelations.
  • William Byrnes is a member of the law faculty and an associate dean with Texas A&M University School of Law. William held a senior position of international tax for a Big 6 firm and has been commissioned on fiscal policy by a number of governments. He is currently developing a tax and legal risk management online curriculum for professionals. Texas A&M University is the fifth largest U.S. public research institution and one of only 62 institutions to be designated a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities.

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