On Sunday, 3 April 2016, in an unprecedented coordinated action, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and its media partners began releasing explosive news stories about offshore taxheaven based on information housed in 11.5 million pages of documents leaked by an anonymous source to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Known now as the Panama Papers, the stories that grew out of the leak are the result of the biggest journalists collaboration in history. The Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) enlisted four hundred journalists from one hundred media organizations in eighty countries to sift through millions of documents that reveal how the rich, famous, and infamous used the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca to hide their money, avoid paying taxes, and in some cases to cover up their shady deals.
Among the one hundred media organizations, six are from the Middle East and North Africa, whose investigations have revealed how King Salman of Saudi Arabia to former Emir and Prime Minister of Qatar, and relatives of Bashar al Assaad used secret offshore shell companies.The documents also reveal how 143 politicians, including twelve heads of state have used offshore tax havens to avoid tax and sanctions, fund their wars, and skirt sanctions.
Malihe Razazan spoke with Sana Sbouai, a Tunisian journalist and chief editor of the French Edition of Inkyfada, an independent investigation and reporting news site that covers issues affecting people in Tunisia.
Among the one hundred media organizations involved in researching the Panama Papers, Inkyfada suffered a hacking attack just hours after the publishing of their content on the firm Mossack Fonseca.