WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The Panama Papers were a gigantic cache of 11.5 million documents leaked to the global media providing detailed information about offshore companies listed by the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.
"I remain convinced that the Panama Papers were leaked by some faction in Western intelligence services… to expose the vast empire of British and Dutch offshore money laundering centers [in] the global financial system," Executive Intelligence Review senior editor Jeff Steinberg stated on Friday.
Western media reports led by the Suddeutsche Zeitung in Germany and The Guardian in the United Kingdom had focused on legal accounts held by political leaders, but had missed or ignored the more important data revealed by the leak regarding huge financial transaction by criminal syndicates, Steinberg insisted.
"This one law firm [Mossack Fonseca] in Panama alone has laundered at least $3.5 trillion in drug money, other criminal profits and tax evasion funds — and it is only the fourth largest of these facilitators," Steinberg pointed out.
The giant British-based bank HSBC had been especially heavily implicated, Steinberg recalled.
"A third of all [Mossack Fonseca’s] accounts were created on behalf of HSBC, which has been exposed by [former US Senator] Carl Levin's Senate Permanent Investigations Subcommittee as the number one launderer of Mexican and Colombian drug cartel money," Steinberg noted.
Efforts in the Western media to embarrass Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping were clumsy and done in large part to distract attention from the truly important and shocking revelations in the documents, Steinberg argued.
"The efforts to tar [Putin] in this case didn't go very far; similar with Xi Jinping. The story, which stupid and lazy investigative reporters failed to recognize, is not about the clients, but is about the offshore infrastructure," Steinberg said.
Coordinated international cooperation to stamp out the secret global financial transactions was essential in the fight against global drug, human trafficking and other major criminal activities, Steinberg maintained.
Independent Institute Center on Peace and Liberty Director Ivan Eland agreed that Western media had obsessed on trying to embarrass Putin by unsuccessfully attempting to link him to the Panama Papers, while ignoring more important revelations from them.
"The world media has focused on Putin, because he is often vilified on other issues, while Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, a Western friend who directly took advantage of a shell company, gets less media criticism."
On Tuesday, Ukrainian Radical Party leader Oleh Lyashko said he planned to launch impeachment procedures against Poroshenko over his alleged use of tax havens disclosed in the Panama Papers.