Good morning. We'll start our Panama Papers live blog with this item from our news desk:
Panama To Create Panel To Review Offshore Finance Practices
Panama's president has moved to create a commission to review the country's financial practices following leaks of a Panamanian law firm's documents that embarrassed an array of world leaders.
"The Panamanian government, via our foreign ministry, will create an independent commission of domestic and international experts...to evaluate our current practices and propose the adoption of measures that we will share with other countries of the world to strengthen the transparency of the financial and legal systems," President Juan Carlos Varela said on April 6.
"We are a serious country, respectful of international law and cooperative with the efforts of the international community to seek solutions to this global problem."
Panama was severely criticized by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OSCE) following the leaks of 11.5 million documents from the Mossack Fonseca law firm, which specializes in making offshore arrangements for the world's rich and famous.
"Panama is the last major holdout that continues to allow funds to be hidden offshore from tax and law enforcement authorities," OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria said on April 5.
Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and dpa
The Czech Republic's prime minister has asked the national tax authorities to investigate the nearly 300 Czech nationals whose names appear in the Panama papers.
"Of the 11 million files leaked from Mossack Fonseca, the world’s fourth largest offshore law firm, 250,000 files are Czech-related, according to Pavla Holcová from the Czech Centre for Investigative Journalism which has been analyzing the documents. Unlike in other countries, they do not appear to contain the names of politicians in high office, although they do allegedly contain the names of big players in the 1990s privatization deals."
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which is coordinating the investigation of the Panama papers, has issued a FAQ on themselves and the entire project.
This poster is making waves in Russia as the official state media continue to largely ignore the implications of the Panama papers for President Vladimir Putin's government. In Russian, "panama" usually refers to a panama hat and this poster shows Putin wearing one (in the style of gonzo American journalist Hunter. S. Thompson) with the caption: "What panama?"
The Guardian on April 7 continues to probe the connection between the Panama leaks and the father of British Prime Minister David Cameron. A holding fund that Cameron's father set up was apparently doing extensive research on tax-avoidance schemes in 2012, at a time when Cameron himself was already criticizing them. "Some of these schemes we have seen are quite frankly morally wrong," Cameron is quoted as saying at the time.
Gonzalo Delaveau, the head of the Chilean branch of the international NGO Transparency International resigned on April 5 after his name appeared in the Panama papers linked to at least five offshore firms. It is not known if he did anything illegal, but the revelation was embarrassing.
Transparency International issued a statement that read in part:
"While Delaveau is not reportedly accused of illegal activity, and he may be able to explain his activities, for us that is not the point. Not all secret companies are illegal, but many are used to hide money flows and to support acts of corruption. As we said yesterday in a press release about the Panama Papers investigation: Transparency International wants public registers of all companies' beneficial owners to make it harder for the corrupt to hide their illicit wealth in secret companies and trusts that use nominees to register ownership.
"We are now looking into measures to ensure this does not happen again."
Popular television detective Columbo has a question for British Prime Minister David Cameron:
In case you haven't seen it yet, RFE/RL has aggregated its English-language coverage of the Panama papers here.