When a businessman with international holdings and properties rose to the highest seat of power in the United States without releasing a single page of financial data, transparency and shell companies reignited as a central issue in American politics. Almost one year after the release of the Panama papers, a panel of experts gathered at the Columbia School of Journalism to discuss the ethics and motivations behind offshore finance.
The panel opened up with Jason Sharman, a Professor of International Relations at Cambridge, and author of The Despot’s Guide to Wealth Management: On the International Campaign Against Grand Corruption, who began by debunking some myths associated with the offshore world. “Although the dominant presentation of this issue is one of greed and greedy people, I think it’s much more an issue of fear,” he said. Sharman made the case for a multitude of motivations for moving money offshore, and that while some may be criminals avoiding taxes and laundering funds, there are also those who fear losing it all to oppressive governments.
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