Summary of Dirty Little Secrets

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Investigative reporter Catherine Dunn explains how “registered agents” help drug lords, bank robbers and corrupt officials set up shell companies that conceal their assets. Dunn also shares the Panama Papers investigation’s intelligence on one of the worst offenders: the Panama-based legal firm Mossack Fonseca. This eye-opening exploration of one of the largest leaks in history exposes how the rich, corrupt and criminal really do business. In the interests of being fair and balanced, Dunn also reveals how easy it is to set up a shell company in the United States. While always politically neutral, getAbstract recommends this report to those concerned about the shadow economy.

About the Author

Catherine Dunn is an investigative reporter for Fusion.



The Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca acts as a “registered agent,” creating shell companies in tax havens. Shell companies provide an anonymous way to launder funds from unpaid taxes, corruption and crime. Mossack Fonseca produces documentation, signatures and mailing addresses, while the companies frequently do nothing except conceal assets. Tax havens have low or no taxes and banking secrecy laws to maintain anonymity. Some estimate that tax havens are concealing $21 trillion to $32 trillion, excluding income from criminal activity. In 2014, investors ...

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