Back in April 2016, a number of newspapers and media worldwide began running excerpts from a cache of 11.5 million leaked documents from the Mossack Fonseca law firm in Panama.
The Panama Papers, as they were dubbed, detailed how the firm’s clients had set up tax evasion schemes using strawmen in tax havens to prevent the relevant authorities finding out how much tax was owed and by whom.
A number of the names were relevant to Denmark, and the Danish tax authorities have so far processed 155 cases and demanded 315 million kroner in taxes, according to information from Skattestyrelsen given to Politiken and DR.
Denmark paid slightly over 6 million kroner for access to the papers after a discussion in Parliament, and the tax minister, Karsten Lauritzen, feels it has been money well spent.
“On the one hand it shows that there was something there and the decision I took to buy the papers has been good business, paying 6 million for considerably more than 300 million,” Lauritzen told DR.
However, time will tell how many million kroner is actually paid back, but Lauritzen is certain it will be more than six.
A Nordea connection
The papers also exposed the role of Nordea in helping their customers to set up tax avoidance schemes in tax havens, and DR was able to reveal that in one case a Nordea employee had asked the law firm to backdate a document by more than two years.
Among the prominent people in the spotlight were Icelandic PM Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, footballer Lionel Messi and members of Russia President Putin’s inner circle.
Based on the information contained in the papers, the UK has gone to court to demand 1.6 billion kroner back, while the figure for France is 900 million and for Australia more than 600 million.
Three years after the papers have been released, tax authorities worldwide have sent out demands for 8 billion kroner.