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The Panama Papers

How the World's Rich and Powerful Hide Their Money
Narrated by: Simon Shepherd
Length: 12 hrs and 2 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, World Affairs
5 out of 5 stars (20 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Late one evening investigative journalist Bastian Obermayer receives an anonymous message offering him access to secret data. Through encrypted channels he then receives documents showing a mysterious bank transfer for $500 million in gold. This is just the beginning.

Obermayer and fellow Süddeutsche Zeitung journalist Frederik Obermaier find themselves immersed in a secret world where complex networks of shell companies help to hide people who don't want to be found. Faced with the largest data leak in history, they activate an international network of journalists to follow every possible line of enquiry.

Operating for over a year in the strictest secrecy, they uncover a global elite living by a different set of rules: prime ministers, dictators, oligarchs, princelings, sports officials, big banks, arms smugglers, mafiosi, diamond miners, art dealers and celebrities. The real-life thriller behind the story of the century, The Panama Papers is an intense, pause-resisting account that blows their secret world wide open.

©2016 Frederik Obermaier and Bastian Obermayer (P)2016 Audible, Ltd

Critic Reviews

"The biggest leak in the history of data journalism." (Edward Snowden)
"This is the inside story of how governments, corporations and organised crime groups have used the secret world of offshore jurisdictions to engage in systematic cheating and thieving. It's an almost perfect tale for the 21st century - the failure of democracy, the triumph of commercial power and greed, greed, greed." (Nick Davies, special correspondent, Guardian)

What members say

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Brilliant

Well presented, well researched and very nicely narrated.

What else can I say other than, buy it.

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absolute necessity to listen to

amazing. if you didn't already understand oligarchy, or question politics; and especially, especially if you are interested in this broad suggestion, this will amaze , verify and keep you riveted to the end.

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Excellent story and narration

Really enjoyed the story and the narration. One of the best audiobooks that I have listened to.

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How the criminal rich screw us all.

This has to be one of the most important books of the century. Explains how the top 1% screw the world over and how our governments either are participates or just turn a blind eye.

No conspiracy theories, all based on the greatest data leek in history.

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  • Craig S Smith
  • 06-12-2018

highly recommended for the ears of the 99% and 1%

Sickening to learn that 1) the majority of native Africans [and those severely disadvantaged in other regions] are in their plight due to the amoral deeds of their supposedly elected leaders conspiring with crooked law firms and "The 1%" to steal the wealth of the governed and 2) that the financial crisis of '07/'08 could have been prevented if individuals (including corporations deemed to be equivalent to individuals with the 14th amendment of the U. S. Constitution) couldn't evade their tax obligations as to which the 99% must adhere.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Justin D
  • 31-07-2019

It was alright.

The book was like running full speed towards the edge of a cliff and jumping off just to find out that you jumped off the curb from the sidewalk to the street.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Donnie
  • 02-03-2019

Finally, the details of this story connected!

Great work to all involved in putting this together. Thank you for protecting the interests of the public.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Aivaras
  • 28-03-2019

A bit dull, but nevertheless an eye-opening account

I wanted to love this book, but I couldn’t get into it. It is written in a thorough, systematic and very German approach. Although the subject was interesting, I would find myself spacing out and not paying attention for big parts of this book. The narration didn’t help, either. Nevertheless, it’s an eye-opening account what actually happened and how messed up of a company MOSFON really was in helping so many of the worlds elite and shady characters hide their wealth. We can only hope that one day people will say enough is enough and do something about it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • marc
  • 17-10-2019

brilliant work

Should be read and studied in schools. An important work for the future generations. An important work for humanity.


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  • MovieFan
  • 02-09-2019

Average listening pleasure

The book seems to bound up in micro details. I tended to fall asleep or lose interest. Still, it was worth a listen even if it didn't hold my attention like I thought it would.

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  • Marshall
  • 29-06-2019

Amazing story that is well told

An amazing story that is written and told in way that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Make sure you have enough time because once you start it will be nearly impossible to finish!

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  • Beje
  • 22-06-2019

Down Right Scary -- No Kidding!

There is so much information in this book that it takes a lot of effort and thought to keep the people and data straight. It is very disarming and troubling. It discloses substantial economic assets about the highest and most powerful world leaders from many countries. It's a who's who and how-to navigate and secrete treasures. The amount of funds attributed per person or company is too much to wrap my head around. Hulu has a documentary about the Panama Papers. It closely follows the book. I was glad that I had read the book before watching the documentary (which I saw twice). This is a worthwhile read.

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  • Joey Bob
  • 30-04-2019

Textbook boring, A+ material.

Not bad if you can stomach through the hours of pure fluff. The story telling is more like a loose association of news paper clippings than a finished book. Changes more topics than someone tripping on LSD. Decent, but not ideal... Better to just read the online articles than the book as it saves time.

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  • WDE
  • 07-03-2019

dont listen while operating heavy equipment

Incredible story but I wouldn't recommend as an audio book. So much detail...maybe buy the print version.

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  • phil chadwick
  • 18-12-2016

A must-read. Simple as that

Absolutely loved this. Detailed insight into the making of the definitive piece of investigative journalism of the current era.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Kirstine
  • 15-07-2017

Riveting story of financial misdeeds

I was engrossed by this pacy and fascinating account of how two German journalists organised a world-wide analysis of masses of detailed financial information leaked to them by an anonymous informant, Documents that revealed the extraordinary lengths to which the rich and powerful go to to avoid tax or cover-up fraud. The amount of data is mind-boggling: the equivalent of literary millions of pages.

The information was from the internal documents of the Panama City law firm, Mossack Fonseca, with links to off-shore financial havens world-wide. The firm created thousands of shell companies that were (and are) created to hide the real owners of the stored money and other assets. A facility exploited by organized crime. I was not surprised to learn that the despots of the world engage in this kind of activity to cover up filching the assets of their countries, but was dismayed by how common the practice is among politicians and leaders of so many organisations.

Apart from generating a sense of outrage at the sheer greed of those with power and money and the shady lawyers who carry out the dirty work, I was impressed by the world-wide network of investigative journalists organised to analyse the data relevant to their respective countries. All the more extraordinary was that not one of them leaked the fact that they were uncovering explicit evidence of tax evasion and fraud by well-known people and in some cases putting themselves at considerable risk.

Even though the Panama Papers have lifted the lid on many involved in tax evasion and fraud, and some action is being taken, the problem will not go away as long as there is no international clamping down on shell companies. But I fear this will never happen as so many politicians and their cronies have had, and probably still use, these companies to avoid or reduce their tax liabilities.

The narrator is first rate and brings a passion to the text.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • c
  • 13-03-2018

Leaves me feeling angry and ashamed.

Other reviewers have written many words of well deserved praise for everyone involved in the brave world-wide release of the Panama Papers, not least 'John Doe' and the two journalists/ authors. I can't improve on these. I think this book should now be compulsory reading within schools and universities, as a reminder of how these despicable financial practices line the bottomless pockets of the 1% uber-rich. This being at the cost of the rest of us-the 99%, many of whom live in abject poverty because of the theft of revenue from their government's coffers. Maybe this level of constant exposure would bring the subject back to the attention of the public where it belongs, and should remain, until off-shore tax havens are abolished forever.

Why has it all now disappeared from public attention (i.e.Newspapers and TV) in the UK when many of the worst offenders operate from British territories? As the novel explains, this is because many of the uber-rich have now bought into our newspapers and media (and those in other countries too) to ensure that we all eventually forget to keep an eye on exactly what respective governments are doing to end what is, in any language, tax evasion!

No wonder I'm angry and ashamed as a result of listening to the Panama Papers, one of the best buys from Audible...ever!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr. D. Deegan
  • 23-12-2017

Awesome

Loved it, gripping and interesting. Would recommend it to anyone intrigued by this worldly topic.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Colin Howard
  • 23-10-2017

Fascinating true story

This is an amazing story, it reads like a detective novel but is all true. Should be required reading.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Craig
  • 21-08-2017

Mind blowing

The scale of these leaks is astounding and this book is an essential read for anyone interested in how the global elite avoid fair contributions to society.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • J. ELARIO
  • 27-11-2019

Fascinating and extremely eye-opening

Great narration and easy to understand if you've never been in the field of finance. Definitely worth a listen if you're interested in what really happens in the world of massive money that's 'legally' untaxed or laundered for people who are obviously ludicrously rich in the first place.
Greed and corruption are rife in our 'democratic' world.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-11-2019

Terrible pronunciation of German words

The narrator's pronunciation of German words is rather terrible. It spoils an otherwise good performance.

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  • Mark
  • 27-10-2019

Very interesting. Bit repetitive

Great story and well narrated. Some points can feel a bit drawn out and repetitive on giving many examples of essentially the same thing

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  • L. Watson
  • 25-10-2019

Very interesting

It’s so interesting but it’s sad that we have moved on and nothing has been done.