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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 listeners say about The Panama Papers

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An extraordinary and powerful backstory

This book lifts the curtain and reveals the background of the Panama Papers. Humanising the narrative both in terms of the real world impacts of the revelations and the catapulting of these two journalists into the twin spearheads of a push to unearth a global conspiracy of white collar greed.

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Brilliant work by investigative journalists

Written by passionate people who truly want to make the world a better place. A must read for anyone who consider themselves socially responsible members of the society.

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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.

5 people found this 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.

3 people found this 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 people found this 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 person found this helpful

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  • Khalid Gimba
  • 27-06-2020

one of the best books I've ever listen-read. Great

one of the best books I've ever listen-read. Great job and kudos to the Ober brothers.

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  • Jason S
  • 20-06-2020

Secrets of the rich & powerful

Society has a broken system for the rich & powerful, who'll use all their power to remain so. This book reveals covers the white collar crimes and controversial methods: from setting up offshore entities for assets (e.g. entity to hold a boat, to hold stock), to having a foreign Panamanian citizen to hold your asset in title only. Most fearful is the involvement of the high level government officials, from every major countries (US/UK/China). Taking advantage to abuse the systemic grey areas and loopholes at every opportunity. These are not the stories an average citizen would have heard of, had it not been for this leak. These stories are real, and these journalists were incredibly brave. Reporting on this tax fraud and evasion on such an unprecedented and massive scale, all the journalists are at risk of having an "accident", all the time. I doubt those risk go away even as this book is published. Thank you, for covering this.

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  • A Happy Historian
  • 13-06-2020

Fascinating read

Highly recommend this book. It’s a page turner packed with information. If you’re interested in the world of finance, this is a must read.

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  • Jeff Lacy
  • 29-01-2020

Thrilling story of the abuse of offshore corporate formation

A book with a lot of wow power. Thrilling and engaging. Never lets up. The account of the basis of the Panama Papers, how the two terabytes of information evolved, the 400 journalists around the world were recruited to write the articles based on the information. It is an incredible story. See also, Jake Bernstein’s, SECRECY WORLD. Simon Shepherd does an outstanding job narrating the story.

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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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  • Fernando Silva
  • 13-09-2019

great journalists awful philosophers

statist and political editorializing. fascinating investigative journalism nonetheless. parts of the book are unbareable if you are a libertarian.

1 person found this 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!

9 people found this helpful

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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 people found this 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.

8 people found this 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.

3 people found this helpful

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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.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-10-2020

A very slow burn

A good story in general, but with a lot of redundant parts that required little to no explaonation

1 person found this helpful

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  • Nigel
  • 16-07-2020

Fascinating, disturbing and a cause of outrage

Although potential readers might imagine that a book about tax evasion and financial corruption is going to be dry they could not be more wrong. The human story of the process of analysis, investigation and revelation is deeply engaging and often amusing. The greater understanding of how corrupt financial practices shape politics has me outraged, and wanting to do more to effect changes to reduce this criminal behaviour.

1 person found this 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 person found this 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 person found this helpful

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  • Honest Dude
  • 22-11-2020

An eye opening account of the Panama Papers

I would highly recommend this book to everyone. It certainly opened my eyes to the disparity between the rich and the middle and low earners. The rich can commit fraudulent financial misdemeanors without any consequence.

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