Was The Panama Papers "Leak" A Russian Intelligence Operation?

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

As I wrote on Monday, ever since I started reading about the Panama Papers “leak” something kept rubbing me the wrong way. From the absence of any well known, politically powerful Americans on the list, to the anonymous nature of “John Doe” as whistleblower and the clownish reporting from Soros and USAID affiliated organizations, the whole thing stunk from the start.

The first plausible theory I came across attempting to explain the strangeness of it all was proposed by Craig Murray, and it basically went something like this. The leaker is a real whistleblower, but he placed the information in the wrong hands, therefore the organizations and journalists reporting on the story were not giving us the whole truth. Here’s some of that theory from the post, Are Corporate Gatekeepers Protecting Western Elites from the Leaked Panama Papers?

Whoever leaked the Mossack Fonseca papers appears motivated by a genuine desire to expose the system that enables the ultra wealthy to hide their massive stashes, often corruptly obtained and all involved in tax avoidance. These Panamanian lawyers hide the wealth of a significant proportion of the 1%, and the massive leak of their documents ought to be a wonderful thing.


The Suddeutsche Zeitung, which received the leak, gives a detailed explanation of the methodology the corporate media used to search the files. The main search they have done is for names associated with breaking UN sanctions regimes. The Guardian reports this too and helpfully lists those countries as Zimbabwe, North Korea, Russia and Syria. The filtering of this Mossack Fonseca information by the corporate media follows a direct western governmental agenda. There is no mention at all of use of Mossack Fonseca by massive western corporations or western billionaires – the main customers. And the Guardian is quick to reassure that “much of the leaked material will remain private.”


The corporate media – the Guardian and BBC in the UK – have exclusive access to the database which you and I cannot see. They are protecting themselves from even seeing western corporations’ sensitive information by only looking at those documents which are brought up by specific searches such as UN sanctions busters. Never forget the Guardian smashed its copies of the Snowden files on the instruction of MI6. 

Initially, this seemed to be a theory worth exploring, but in the following days I’ve come to a far different conclusion. The primary divergence between what I currently believe and what Mr. Murray proposed is that I do not think the leaker was a genuine whistleblower motived by the public interest. I think the leaker was working on behalf of a sophisticated intelligence agency.

The fact that we seem to know nothing about “John Doe” concerns me. Say what you will about Edward Snowden, but he came out publicly shortly after his whistleblowing and offered himself up for the world to judge. His life, career and personality have been put on full display, and each and every one of us has had the opportunity to decide for ourselves whether his motivations were noble and pure or not.

With the Panama Papers’ “John Doe” we are given no such opportunity, and in fact, the whole thing reads very much like a script concocted by some big budget intelligence agency. Once I started coming around to this conclusion, the obvious choice was U.S. intelligence; given the lack of implications to powerful Americans, the clownishly desperate attempts to smear Putin, and the appearance of Soros, USAID, Ford Foundation, etc, linked organizations to the reporting.

So for someone who already thinks the whole Panama Papers story stinks to high heaven, a CIA link to the release seems obvious; but is it too obvious? Perhaps.

Earlier this morning, I read an absolutely fascinating theory put forth by Are the Russians actually behind the Panama Papers?

The “Panama Papers”—does this strike anyone else as a very fishy story? It’s like something out of a cheap spy movie.

Yes, yes it does.

In early 2015, “John Doe” sends (out of the blue) an email to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ), offering 11.5 million documents from a Panamanian law firm relating to offshore shell companies. SZ accepts. Under the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), some 400 journalists from 80 countries spend a year sifting through the documents. Then, in a coordinated launch, they present their first findings: With nearly identical language in all media (down to the local TV station in Washington that I happened to watch this week), they talk about the grand new revelations of corruption, money laundering, and financial secrecy by over 140 world leaders.


Most reports, no matter where, feature Russian President Vladimir Putin as the headliner. But that might obscure a much bigger and more twisted story.

The dog that didn’t bark

Despite the headlines, there is no evidence of Putin’s direct involvement—not in any company involved in the leak, much less in criminal activity, theft, tax evasion, or money laundering. There are documents showing that some of his “friends” have moved “up to two billion dollars” through these Panama-based shell companies.


But nothing in the Panama Papers reveals anything new about Putin. It is in fact far less of a story than has been alleged for a long time. For over 10 years, there have been suspicions that Putin has a vast personal fortune, claimed at first to be $20 billion, then $40$70, even $100… And now all they find is “maybe” a couple of billion belonging to a friend?

This is the dog that didn’t bark.

I completely agree with this conclusion. Putin probably does have a huge fortune stashed away somewhere, but this “leak” doesn’t reveal anything about it. In fact, the Panama Papers will have absolutely zero impact on Putin’s political power at home, while making Western efforts to trash him look manufactured and clownish. Net-net Putin wins from the release of the Panama Papers.

As Mr. Gaddy explains.

Some (geo)political context is important here. In recent years, the media has become a key battleground in which Russia and the West have attempted to discredit each other. Early last year, circles in the West sought to use the media to respond to what they described as Russia’s “hybrid warfare,” especially information war, in the wake of the Russian annexation of Crimea and related activities. They identified corruption as an issue where Putin was quite vulnerable. It’s worth looking at the Panama Papers in that context: Journalists are targeting Putin far out of proportion to the evidence they present.


As soon as one delves below the headlines, it’s a non-story. A “friend of Putin” is linked to companies that channel a couple of billion dollars through the offshore companies. Why? To evade Russian taxes? Really? To conceal ownership? From whom? You don’t need an offshore registration to do that. To evade sanctions? That’s a credible reason, but it makes sense only if the companies were registered after mid-2014. Were they?


This information will not harm Putin at all—instead, it gives Putin cover, so he can shrug and say: “Look, everybody does it.” A more serious possibility is that the leaked data will lead to scandals throughout the West, where corruption does matter—a point I’ll discuss. On net, the Russians win.


The cui bono principle connects profits with motives, asking who stands to gain from a certain action. If it’s the Russians who win, isn’t it possible that they are somehow behind at least part of this story? 

Who is “John Doe”? 

The ICIJ is the self-described elite of investigative journalists—but what have they discovered about the source of all these documents? The only information we have about John Doe is from SZ, which begins its story: “Over a year ago, an anonymous source contacted the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) and submitted encrypted internal documents from the law firm Mossack Fonseca.” When the staff at SZ asked John Doe about his motive, he reportedly replied in an email: “I want to make these crimes public.”


But how can the journalists—and the public—be sure he’s trustworthy, and that the documents are real, complete, and unmanipulated? It’s not clear that John Doe is a single individual, for one, nor why he would have been confident that he could reveal the documents without revealing himself. He’d also have access to a pretty impressive documents cache, which suggests that an intelligence agency could have been involved. 

The above seems clear to me as well, which is why I feel pretty strongly that this was some sort intelligence operation.

Moreover, the revelation brings collateral damage upon legal business and innocent individuals—was that not a worry? In my view, no responsible person with a real concern for rule of law would advocate this sort of sweeping document release. There might be many unintended consequences; it could topple regimes, with unforeseen consequences. It’s pure and naïve anarchism, if the thinking was (as it seems from the outside) to create maximum chaos and hope it will all purge the system of its evils. In any event, the potential for using such a leak for political purposes is immense.


If “we” (in the United States or the West) released these documents, the motive would apparently be to embarrass Putin. This is part of the fantasy that we can defeat Putin in an information war. If that was the motive, the result is pathetic: No real damage is being done to Putin, but there is collateral damage to U.S. allies.


If the Russians did it, a good motive might be to deflect the West’s campaign against Putin’s corruption. But as I’ve explained, any actual reputational damage to Putin or Russia caused by the Panama Papers is in fact pretty trivial. For that cheap price, the Russians would have 1) exposed corrupt politicians everywhere, including in “model” Western democracies, and 2) fomented genuine destabilization in some Western countries. What I wonder, then: Is it a set-up? The Russians threw out the bait, and the United States gobbled it down. The Panama Paper stories run off Putin like water off a duck’s back. But they have a negative impact on Western stability.

Personally, I’m not convinced they will have any impact on Western stability whatsoever. Rather, here’s what they do achieve: 1) they make the Western press look ridiculous in its obsession with Putin 2) the absence of any notable Americans makes it look like a CIA operation.

So let’s say that the “who” is the Russians, and the “why” is to deflect attention and show that “everybody does it.” But how? Given Russia’s vaunted hacking capabilities, a special cyber unit in the Kremlin may have been able to obtain the documents. (Monssack Fonseca is maintaining that the leak was not an inside job.) But it is most likely that such an operation would be run out of an agency called the Russian Financial Monitoring Service (RFM). RFM is Putin’s personal financial intelligence unit—he created it and it answers only to him. It is completely legitimate and is widely recognized as the most powerful such agency in the world, with a monopoly on information about money laundering, offshore centers, and related issues involving Russia or Russian nationals.


An operation like the Panama Papers, which is only about financial intelligence, would have to be run out of RFM. Not the FSB, not some ad hoc gang in the Kremlin. While it might not (legally) have access to secrets kept by a firm like Mossack Fonseca, it’s privy to lots of international financial information through the international body of which it is a leading member, the Financial Action Task Force. In short, Russians are better equipped than anyone—more capable and less constrained—to hack into secret files.


As for how to leak the documents, it would actually be pretty ingenious to “incriminate” Russia in a seemingly serious (and headline-grabbing) way without actually revealing incriminating information. That’s exactly what we have. The Panama Papers revealed no Russian secrets. They added nothing to the rumors already circulating about Putin’s alleged private fortune. And the story-that-isn’t-a-story was advanced by none other than the ICIJ. So, done right, the last thing anyone would suspect is that the Panama Papers are a Russian operation.

A more serious Russian motive?

Granted, this would be a complicated operation just to defuse the West’s campaign to point to “Putin the kleptocrat.” But maybe there’s another motive.


As many have already pointed out, it’s curious that the Panama Papers mention no Americans. But it’s possible that they do and that the ICIJ hasn’t revealed that information. Perhaps, since the ICIJ is funded by Americans, they’re not going to bite the hand that feeds them. But suppose the ICIJ actually doesn’t have information on Americans—that calls into question the original data, which if actually real and uncensored would most probably include something on Americans. There are undoubtedly many American individuals and companies that have done business with the Mossack Fonseco crew, and it wouldn’t make sense for a collection of 11.5 million documents involving offshore finances to omit Americans entirely. Perhaps, then, someone purged those references before the documents were handed over to the German newspaper. The “someone” would, following my hypothesis, be the Russians—and the absence of incriminating information about Americans is an important hint of what I think to be the real purpose of this leak. 

Some have argued that the reason no powerful Americans are named is because Americans use other jurisdictions for such behavior. Considering the size of this data leak and the fact that it supposedly contains information going back to the 1970s, I find this explanation unconvincing.

Now back to Brookings.

The Panama Papers contain secret corporate financial information, some of which—by far not all—reveals criminal activity. In the hands of law enforcement, such information can be used to prosecute companies and individuals; in the hands of a third party, it is a weapon for blackmail. For information to be effective as a blackmail weapon, it must be kept secret. Once revealed, as in the Panama Papers case, it is useless for blackmail. Its value is destroyed.


Therefore, I suggest that the purpose of the Panama Papers operation may be this: It is a message directed at the Americans and other Western political leaders who could be mentioned but are not. The message is: “We have information on your financial misdeeds, too. You know we do. We can keep them secret if you work with us.” In other words, the individuals mentioned in the documents are not the targets. The ones who are not mentioned are the targets.

Kontrol, the special Russian variety of control

In sum, my thinking is that this could have been a Russian intelligence operation, which orchestrated a high-profile leak and established total credibility by “implicating” (not really implicating) Russia and keeping the source hidden. Some documents would be used for anti-corruption campaigns in a few countries—topple some minor regimes, destroy a few careers and fortunes. By then blackmailing the real targets in the United States and elsewhere (individuals not in the current leak), the Russian puppet masters get “kontrol” and influence.


If the Russians are behind the Panama Papers, we know two things and both come back to Putin personally: First, it is an operation run by RFM, which means it’s run by Putin; second, it’s ultimately about blackmail. That means the real story lies in the information being concealed, not revealed. You reveal secrets in order to destroy; conceal in order to control. Putin is not a destroyer. He’s a controller.

At this point, I want to make something perfectly clear. I do not profess to know the “real story” behind the Panama Papers. The truth is, nobody knows, except for John Doe and the people he was working for (or with). The only thing I feel fairly confident about is that the story we are being fed is not the real story. The more I read and reflect upon the very minor consequences of the leak thus far, the more I become convinced this was a geopolitical play by a powerful intelligence agency. At first, I assumed it was U.S. intelligence, but Mr. Gaddy puts forth a compelling theory. If this was the work of the CIA, it was an extremely sloppy and obvious hit job. On the other hand, if this was the work of Putin for the purposes of blackmail, it’s one of the most ingenious chess moves I’ve ever seen played on the global stage.

I want to conclude with a very important observation. If Clifford Gaddy’s theory is correct, it’s the worse case scenario for American citizens. It means that Putin essentially has the goods on the U.S. elite and he can now blackmail them for his purposes. Indeed, perhaps Iceland was put forward as an example of what can happen if truly damaging information makes it to the public.

So if Putin is behind this, and does have the goods on the U.S. elite, not only do we not get rid of the these corrupt oligarchs, we now have to live with them in an even more compromised state than they were before. For all of our sakes, I hope Mr. Gaddy is wrong.

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Boomberg's picture

That was a lot of words just to say "I dunno much" and state a wild speculation. Try one paragraph next time.

wee-weed up's picture

Hell no! The CIA did it!

BTFDemocracy's picture

If all the data is released later, and shows all the Americans, then the Western Press' credibility is destroyed.

This could be a nice way to globally discredit the Western MSM.

tmosley's picture

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. 

This is likely just top level incompetence at the CIA.

Urban Roman's picture

They can't even resist disrupting themselves.

e.g., "Eyewash".

Casanova's picture
Casanova (not verified) Urban Roman Apr 8, 2016 7:08 PM

Have you EVER NOTICED that everything BAD is blamed on Putin? NO it wasn't a RUSSIAN operation. THOSE who created the conflict with RUSSIA did it >>


NidStyles's picture

Really? I thought everyone knew it was a Soros operation already...

strannick's picture

Unfortunately I suspect its our multipolar hero who might be the Control-ee in this operation.

The ''friends of Putin'' were the warning to Putin. 

Throwing Iceland under the bus is the perfect warning to nations so uppity as to actually jail banksters.

w a l k - a w a y's picture

 "Kontrol, the special Russian variety of control"


Perhaps it was a move by the "Third Force" as described in "Exclusive: The Coming Shift to the Esoteric" at Veterans Today.

Four chan's picture

if clinton, bush, putin, or rothschild isnt named then you know who leaked 

beemasters's picture

Humbugg...The CIA would have made MUCH, MUCH bigger noise than some obscure "Mr. Gaddy" if Russia was behind it. Perhaps bigger than the 'Panama Papers' itself.

Bokkenrijder's picture

Sorry Mike, too far fetched.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung is a notoriously pro-American/NATO/Merkel newspaper and if you look at it's history, you'll see that it was one of the first newspapers granted a license by the American military administration: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%BCddeutsche_Zeitung

The Black Bishop's picture

" want to conclude with a very important observation. If Clifford Gaddy’s theory is correct, it’s the worse case scenario for American citizens. It means that Putin essentially has the goods on the U.S. elite and he can now blackmail them for his purposes. Indeed, perhaps Iceland was put forward as an example of what can happen if truly damaging information makes it to the public."


And there we have it. This author is a fucking retard. Worse case scenario for American citizens? It would be the BEST case for american citizens!!!!!!! Throw the lid off and shine some light on these fucking vampires already! Bring back some real democracy and some real freedom!


Fuck this sockpuppet fucktard author.

WordSmith2013's picture

Sorry, Mike, your story does NOT add up.

PANAMA PAPERS: A Bogus Sting Operation To Smear Putin And Assad


JohninMK's picture

It is clear that it was done intentionally shoddy by the CIA/Mossad so that some conspiracy theorist could blame it on Russia.

Job done and its on ZH. Drinks all round.

CPL's picture

Let's see we've got scheme'ing technocrats on a secret island somewhere, some leaked papers, a Russian leader.  I love a good Bond movie.  Here you can generate a script with the 007 plot generator.  See how close you can get to the current story line.


The Merovingian's picture

Somebody knows everything .... hmmm, I wonder who that could be?

This is just another ring in the circus that is our life now. Corzine is the ringmaster, Obama is the trained monkey, and Soros is the carnival barker out front.


P.S. Where the FUCK is Boris? I really miss seeing that Crazy Ivan on boards like this .....

Bollixed's picture

Doesn't matter who you blame it on. The point is if you know you're dirty and are/were using MF and your name has not been released yet you'll be waiting for the other shoe to drop.

The blackmail angle is a very distinct possibility even if you're Soros.

Especially if you're Soros.

Urban Redneck's picture

Remember how the ATF was jumping through all sorts of hoops to hide the fact they were illegally receiving evidence from the NSA?

There is another possibility for the lack of 'Murican names


Whether the IRS taxes them or the DoJ jails them, them same legal obstacle exists, and of course neither the NSA nor CIA can blackmail someone after the data is already in the open.

eforce's picture

I think we need to see some more examples of it's use before we can trace the true intentions of the leakers.

The Protocols mentions the bankers getting evicted before the NWO is implemented, so this may well be the beginning...

Implied Violins's picture

Yes. It may be that these papers were released simply to make the west look corrupt, petty, and incompetent. Look for future 'leaks' from the east to further reveal the depth of depravity of the west as well as illustrate the professional integrity and competence of the 'good cop' easterners.

The game of globalism doesn't work until you destroy the long-held views of the west being morally/politically/financially superior to the east; increase the status of the east to match them; and eventually place ALL nation-states on the same pedestal via the destruction of sovereignty, nationality, and central bank finances. These papers are just another play in the kabuki theater that is the building of the NWO.

Phoenix Pilgrim's picture

Agreed. More outrage, cognitive dissonance and confusion for the masses. Confusion is our intended epitaph. Any opinion out of Brookings has to be taken with a grain of salt. They are clearly part of the Machine for NWO social engineering strategy.

Here's a thought experiment: Jesuit Vatican

de3de8's picture

Records go back to the 1970's, offices once in Nevada and not one significant American involved? Give me a break.

chindit13's picture

So you're an expert on the CIA now, eh?  Just gut feel, right?  Maybe from that thing called 'internet research'?  Still, you must be right, because I remember that call for $100 silver back in 2011 that had trav7777 so excited.  I mean, that was pure Nostradamus.  Chilling in its prescience.

Of course, rather than 'internet research', maybe you've got a house on Dolley Madison Blvd in McLean.  That's it, isn't it!  Like Sarah Palin and Russia, you can climb on your roof with binoculars and see inside that big neighborhood facility.

Infinite QE's picture

Ah, the CIA "asset" Chindit returns. Things too boring in your new French villa? Or are you still on the hook to the spooks and are dragged out periodically to do community service? Must be that child molestation at your favorite charity back in the old country. Shame.


Freddie's picture

Help us OB-1 Putin - you may be our only hope.


MIC and the military are butt boys for Obola.  Liberty minded Texans vote for those shitbags like the Bushes and Ted Canadian Cruz dirtbag.

300 million armed Americans - who are sheep watching ball games and Dancing With The Stars.

Texans also do nothing when innocents were mass murdered at Waco 1 and Waco 2.


"I want a wooden snowman but no one sells them?"  " I wish you were real"



Occident Mortal's picture

This theory is compelling.

Interesting that this would happen 6 months from an election.

Interesting to see how the damage to Cameron will change the Brexit vote. I think it's a 4-5 pt swing.

Paveway IV's picture

The choice of the Panama Papers project journalists to release their milquetoast expose now is the really strange part. Did they all agree to withhold any articles until now? Why would they do that? Is this it, or are there much more damning articles slated to come out by other journalists in the project? The ICIJ director tease everyone on Twitter with suggestions that there is much more to come, but exactly what and when? How much fucking time do investigative journalists need when they have previously unseen secret source documentation? Granted it's complicated, but it's kind of a big story (if it's real and has anyone important).

I'm confused as hell by Giffy's observation that nothing is known about the anonymous source. He parrots western MSM accounts of the leak, but ignores text directly on the ICIJ's site thusly:

...About two years ago, a whistleblower had already sold internal Mossack Fonseca data to the German authorities, but the dataset was much older and smaller in scope: while it addressed a few hundred offshore companies, the Panama Papers provide data on some 214,000 companies. In the wake of the data purchase, last year investigators searched the homes and offices of about 100 people. The Commerzbank was also raided. As a consequence of their business dealings with Mossack Fonseca, Commerzbank, HSH Nordbank, and Hypovereinsbank agreed to pay fines of around 20 million euros, respectively. Since then, other countries have also acquired data from the initial smaller leak, among them the United States, the UK, and Iceland...

So we actually know that the source John/Jane Doe was originally in it for money. German authorities were the original purchasers of some of this data in early 2014 and it ended up being worth 20M euros. So how much did they pay for it? The source then sold some to the US, UK and Iceland. So what were the terms of those sales?  Buy your stuff early and I won't make it public with the big release? Prosecute these guys or I'll release them myself to the world? Anyone busted and fined as a result of those other sales? Can a government really buy illegal, stolen data from the thief? How could they ever prosecute the banks with stolen documents, no matter how incriminating? If we go by what the ICIJ claims, then they got 'something' from the source for free a few months after they were tyring to sell it. Was that just the unsellable leftovers or ALL the data?

Now ask yourself how likely it is that a) some nobody individual could 'anonymously' sell this stuff to at least three governments with pretty God damn sophisticated intelligence agencies and not end up nail-gunned in his/her garage? If there was something REALLY damaging to, say - Hillary Clinton - do you think the CIA and FBI would hesitate to spend any amount of time and taxpayer money necessary to off this 'source' and determine how the leak occurred? How much polonium would MI6 use to shut this leaker up if some higher-ups in British parliament were implicated in tax evasion and money-laundering naughtiness? The German intelligence community wouldn't just sit back either and say, "Oh, just send them a check. Let's see what they got..." 

There's still a dozen different scenarios for who benefits, but it's just curious that Giffy somehow completely misses the fact that some of this data was originally sold to governments. Presumably there would have been several other non-governmental organizations willing to fork over a bag of ching for this info. Yet it ends up being offered for free to a German newspaper a few months after the German government paid for some themselves.

And how do we even know ICIJ's accounts of this data being sold to the German governments, as well as the others, is even true? They suggest some busts were made based on that purchased data, but how do THEY know that? Did the German government admit to as much, or is this just speculation? It might even be true - who knows? 

The point is that we have to consider a lot more about the anonymous source than Giffy suggests is pertinent. It makes the whole picture more complicated, and I don't think his 'Russian spook leak' stands up too well in this scenario.

Insurrexion's picture



Unless, of course the ICIJ story is a fucking disinformation decoy.

Then your whole argument/speculation is just wandering in the dark.

Go with your last sentence.

One cannot have a theory until one has sufficient data points and an event string.


Just sayin.

Freddie's picture

Always enjoy Paveway Iv's stuff and a;ways like seeing Insurrexion's juggs.

Paveway IV's picture

They already published another leak of offshore stuff in 2013 and Swiss/Lux leaks in 2014 Insurrexion. That 2013 Offshore Leak data was originally sent to Australian reporters covering the Firepower scam down there. Nobody thought that that leak was staged back then. Just saying that it's not like this is the first time they ever looked at leaked documents on offshore companies, and it probably won't be the last time. I would be a lot more suspicious if this was a one-time thing, but you at least have to give a nod to the fact that they've been doing this for years with several leaks.

On the other hand, I'm inclined to go with almost everything Wayne Masden said in «Cherry picking» leaked documents: a CIA art form, h/t to Xymphora

...In 2008, the same global media that finds the Mossack Fonseca documents so newsworthy barely raised an eyebrow when documents leaked from the Luxembourg bank Clearstream were made public. After French intelligence managed to alter the original Clearstream documents, the entire matter was shelved. The reason was that Clearstream was a pass-through entity for paying bribes to a number of world leaders by the CIA and Mossad. At the time of the Clearstream revelations, these leaders were friendly to the George W. Bush administration and Israel. One of the alleged bribe recipients was French President Nicolas Sarkozy who reportedly used the pseudonyms «Paul de Nagy» and «Stéphane Bosca» to hide his identity with Clearstream financial transactions. Sarkozy was suspected of illegally receiving kickbacks involving the sale of six French frigates to Taiwan in 1991. Banks and companies with Clearstream accounts included the defunct CIA-linked Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), Bank Menatep run by Russian criminal oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Banco Ambrosiano (also known as the Vatican Bank), Bahrain International Bank (with reported links to Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda), and Bush family-connected Carlyle Group...

beemasters's picture

My suspicion is Mossack and Fonseca themselves sold the info....or at least were involved in selling it. Governments and other entities would come knocking on their doors offering to buy information. Everything has a price. There was no need for "pretty God damn sophisticated intelligence agencies" for this.

Think about it. If you know highly sensitive information of your company was leaked illegally, you would probably do your best to legally stop anyone from publicizing it.... unless like Wikileaks, you are not warned when the data is dumped. This wasn't the case. They knew ICIJ were going to publish it, and all they did was ... surrender???

Paveway IV's picture

I meant to imply that a hacker offering this data to a government may very well end up the target of their intelligence agencies. Especially if some of that data was sufficiently embarrasing to certain government leaders.

The CIA and/or FBI doesn't care about the U.S. government buying the data, they just want to make sure that the hacker, their methods, their equipment, the data and any other clients that have the data are all properly 'contained'. Something like in a 55 gallon drum filled with concrete and stored in a secure location - like the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

And MF has publicly threatened legal action against the ICIJ and various media outlets. Lawyerly types have concluded that it's pretty much a lost cause for various reasons. One of which is that MF would have to identify some of the Panama Papers documents as authentic which would expose their clients private data. Even if they worked around that, there's the whole jurisdiction thing since they don't know who stole the data to begin with. I'm not a lawyer and don't know the gory details, but they figure there's not much MF can do legally - aside from threatening people with some kind of legal action.

beemasters's picture

I believe there never was a "hacker" to begin with. It was likely a secret business transaction between MF and the buyer. MF could afford the best lawyer in town to obtain an injunction to stop the publication, but they didn't seem to do that. Why??? Just thinking it would be a "lost cause" isn't a good reason not to pursue the legal avenue. The documents were private property. And logically speaking, like any stolen properties, they could be legally stopped from ever given away or sold. Threatening anyone with a legal action isn't the same. It's likely only a show MF had to do to act as victims.

Now that they have been published, albeit partially, MF could also claim the entire documents were faked, that ICIJ were duped. That would raise questions to the credibility of the Panama Papers and possibly even help protect their clients. I believe no one can force them to produce the original copies. If that could be done to MF, it could be done to other similar organizations. But of course, MF wouldn't do that and jeopardize the lucrative deal they have made with the buyer, would they? This deal will never be found out....after all, MF is in the business of hiding shady deals.

Paveway IV's picture

I suppose it's possible beemasters, but they are essentially out of business today. Existing clients are leaving, and nobody is ever going to use them again. Some security outfit checked their mail servers last weekend and found out they were still full of security holes. Even a client using them as a registered agent for legitimate purposes is unlikely to feel comfortable with these hacks housing any of their data.

People familiar with that area of practice say MF sold their services at a steep premium under the guise of enhanced privacy and few questions asked. Since they are now a red flag for every regulatory agency on earth, nobody cares how 'easy' it might be to become their client. So no 'enhanced' privacy, still no data security and assured regulatory scrutiny forever. Nope - these weasels are out of business, period. There is absolutely no reason for anyone to ever use MF again considering that there are dozens of other big outfits that do the same thing without overcharging and DO have adequate security.

MF was a fairly big operation - maybe a few hundred employees and dozens of offices worldwide. I'm having a hard time believing they would throw all that away for money AND expose themselves to all the negative attention as well as malpractice suits from pissed-off clients that have been overpaying for MF's premium services all this time. They would have known that all this would eventually happen.

Stranger things have happened for money though, so you may be right.

beemasters's picture

Well, someone saw the potential of "buying them out" with money they couldn't refuse (or threats they couldn't ignore). It's nothing strange at all. It happens all the time...except deals like MF can't possibly be done openly. Blaming it on "hacking" was brilliant. If clients wanted to sue MF, they would have to prove MF was negligent. That's hard. It's bad enough they are on the list but for the clients to shine a spotlight on themselves with lawsuits? Unlikely.

ICIJ chose not release the entire documents should also raised a red flag. Were there behind the scene blackmails that offered names to be stricken off the list for a price? Who knows? It certainly would be a way for the buyer to profit from the "investment" made.

beemasters's picture

The lesson here is anyone [thinking of} using a third-party law-firm like MF to hide their stash/deals should think twice. Everyone can be bought....especially lawyers. They can charge you exorbitant fees and sell you out at the same time. There are valid, good reasons why we have the lawyer-and-rat jokes.

darkpool2's picture

You are assuming the two leaks came from the same source......the second may have come from an idea generated from the first ( paid for) leak

Paveway IV's picture

AFIK, nobody in the general public knew about the paid-for MF leak until the ICIJ and the German newspaper mentioned it last week. The ICIJ project wasn't even started until they already had the second leak. Whatever enforcement stuff the Germans did back then, they didn't announce anything about the first set of data coming from MF. And we don't even know if the UK, US or Iceland authorities even acted on whatever they supposedly bought. I agree that a government insider privy to the MF origin of the fist set offered for sale may have got their own ideas. Once could easily imagine the CIA/Rothschild/Soros crew being tipped off an doing a little server-diving themselves, resulting in the second 'for free' (and thouroughly scrubbed) data to the German newspaper.

Motasaurus's picture

Que Bono? 

Neither the Russians nor the USAmericans benefit from being behind the leak. But as one of the Tylers wrote a couple of days ago, the Rothschilds certainly do.

Why were US names left off? Blackmail seems about right. But blackmail to what ends? The US powers already know the Russians know every one of their dirty little secrets - it's why the Western Media has been discrediting everything coming out of Russia since 1945. There's no fear of the blackmail sticking when it comes from Russia.

No, the Rothschilds are blackmailing the US into turning the US into a global tax haven. Centralization of all money into a totally corrupt, globally powerful puppet state.  

logicalman's picture

This thing has red shields all over it.


NotApplicable's picture

It still fits the theory though, as I see the red shields managing Putin and his "multi-polar world" as the next alternative to the madness of the US led "uni-polar world."

It's quite obvious that Putin is the only adult in any room full of so-called world leaders. So, it's unlikely that he could continue to successfully operate for this long without their blessing, as otherwise, they'd have taken him out as unwanted competition.

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

The Khodorkovsky episode suggests your wrong.  I figure both sides know that attempts on the leaders' lives results in attempts on YOUR leaders' life.  Tit for tat, Mafia war-style.

Implied Violins's picture

Unless Khodorkovsy is controlled opposition. Just sayin', because it happens everywhere else, too.

BTW: I believe this whole Panama papers thing is just more globalist kabuki, as I mentioned in a post above. But I appreciate all the posters in this chain, as you guys often turn up ideas and information that I haven't seen elsewhere.

daveO's picture

Well, it's already a puppet state, but herding foreign cash into the country makes sense. Forcing EU breakdown would help, now that the petro-dollar ain't what it used to be and FED rate increases aren't gonna happen. Brookings is in DC, that means dis-info at best. 

AGuy's picture

Repeat three times;


Soros, Soros, Soros!


ChaoKrungThep's picture

Accept a Brookings neocon's opinion? ICIJ is a Soros/CIA op, and MF has links to CIA (ex-Nazi founder offered to spy for them). I'm guessing a CIA honey pot from the start. Attract shady clients hiding wealth then at the right time expose some and blackmail others. The Guardian was sloppy (well they are these days) putting Putin's image on the story yet he's (so far) not named. Are they using interns these days?

quadraspleen's picture



The Guardian was sloppy ...... Are they using interns these days?


A room full of monkeys with typewriters, actually. They employed them to transcribe the entire works of Shakespeare, but they get their rocks off turning out "investigative" articles like this and crap about Brexit. Them's the breaks.

HowdyDoody's picture

The Guardian isn't 'sloppy' about the coverage of Russia. It runs deliberate, long term, anti-Russia propaganda. 

There's an investigation. Where do journalists bought by MI6/CIA/BND stuff their extra income? These guys are well-paid in the first place, and get lots of extras such company-paid trips here there and everywhere. It may not be a lot, heck the amount related to Cameron was a mere £30,000 (or £300,000?), but it has to go somewhere.