Last Sunday, the world witnessed the biggest data leak in history. The Panama Papers, as the 11.5 million documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca have now been dubbed, reportedly suggest that the world’s top contract fabricator Foxconn, which assembles iPhones and many other consumer electronics products for other tech firms, may have evaded taxes worth up to a massive $22.86 billion via investments in Panama’s offshore companies.
Foxconn vehemently denied its involvement in the Panama Papers scandal. In an eyebrow-raising move, the Taiwanese firm then dropped veiled threat it might resort to suing news publications that make up such rumors, according to DigiTimes on Friday.
“Conducting trades and investments via overseas subsidiaries has always been a necessary mechanism for international trading, but Foxconn always reports related investments in its financial results,” the company claimed.
The 2.6 terabytes of data detailing the firm’s financial dealings — leaked a year ago to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which then shared them with the ICIJ — cover a myriad offshore accounts and shell companies in tax havens like the British Virgin Islands, the Seychelles and, of course, Panama.
Thus far, the scandalous revelations have undermined public trust of more than a few household names in business and politics. Just yesterday, for example, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Dave Cameron, had to come clean on the fact that he owned shares in an offshore fund.
Or, take the prime minister of Iceland as an example, This guy resigned after reports that he’d owned an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands with his wife. In the video below, he can be seen stuttering and loosing all credibility after being unexpectedly confronted with questions regarding his dealings with offshore companies mentioned in the Panama Papers.
If anything, The Guardian posits, if the super-rich actually paid what they owe in taxes, the United States “would have loads more money available for public services,” including a highly controversial universal basic income.
Apple’s name so far did not come up in the Panama Papers though the company has received its fair share of criticism for funneling money earned overseas through tax havens in Ireland in order to avoid paying high corporate tax in the United States.