The Law Offices of Daniel J. Hurson, LLC
Washington Dc202-530-1230 Maryland443-458-5628

The Panama Papers--the Whistlebower's Treasure Trove

Qualified/Selective Representation

Congratulations to whoever had the guts to publish the Panama Papers. My guess is was an unhappy summer associate at the law firm in Panama who sneaked in after hours with a large-capacity thumb drive! In any event this is the world- wide equivalent of the infamous Pentagon Papers leaked by Daniel Ellsburg in 1971 (guess I am dating myself here). As I read the NYTimes this morning, many foreign officials and high rollers have been hiding their money offshore. Of course all the heads of state will say they acquired their wealth legally. A few of them may be telling the truth, maybe. Important heads may yet role across the globe, although it will take time to sort all the information out. I guess the only folks who can protect themselves for awhile are the Chinese leaders who can seem to push a button and block the entire nation from going on the Internet.

But here is where it gets interesting for whistleblowers. I suggest a close look at the published results. Look for references to people, companies, bank accounts, etc that you may recognize. You could be an accountant buried within some multi-national corporation who can review the names of mystery offshore accounts in the Panama Papers and see one you recognize as a payee in your company's books. You could see a link to show your company was sending funds to one of these offshore accounts. You could see references to names of strange parties whose names also appear on files, documents, records etc of your company (or a competitor's). The possibilities are endless. 

You don't need to connect all the dots. Your information may be valuable to the SEC. You never know. The SEC staff will for sure be reviewing this material for clues to offshore schemes, FCPA violations, and all sorts of mischief. Your tip might connect some very important dots. Or launch a new investigation. And if you want to report and remain anonymous, you will need a lawyer...