The Panama Papers have helped tax authorities recover over $500m around the world. Property registries could ensure that even more is recovered

Two years ago we published the Panama Papers after an anonymous source provided 2.6 terabytes of internal data from the dubious Panamanian law firm of Mossack Fonseca. We shared the data with 400 journalists worldwide and together revealed how the wealthy and powerful use shell companies to hide their assets. Such companies are exploited by dictators, drug cartels, mafia clans, fraudsters, weapons dealers and regimes like North Korea and Iran to hide their shady business transactions.

As a consequence, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, the prime minister of Iceland, resigned. Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif did the same, and in the United Kingdom even David Cameron’s father was implicated. So far, the Panama Papers have helped tax authorities around the world to recover more than $500m in unpaid taxes and penalties. It could be far more if lawmakers finally take action.

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Read More Oligarchs hide billions in shell companies. Here’s how we stop them | Frederik Obermaier and Bastian Obermayer

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