ICIJ Panama Papers investigators ignored William Browder

Jan 13, 2018 – Just received from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists @ICIJorg an email of an article by Michael Forsythe @PekingMike, a reporter on the investigations team at The New York Times. It tells how a consortium of almost 400 reporters from all over the world wrote about the people implicated in the Panama Papers exposing the shell companies set up by the offshore incorporator Mossack Fonseca.

Somehow, they never found, and still do not find, the Mossack Fonseca companies set up by William Browder, who has been in the news off and on for half a dozen years, most recently since his Judiciary Committee testimony in July and the Glenn Simpson testimony in August, just published. And whose importance goes behind cheating on taxes (which he did, except they were Russian, not American taxes, so maybe that doesn’t count), but also roiling US foreign policy.

I’ve written about offshore for twenty years, including a 2014 expose of how Browder used offshore to cheat on Russian taxes, so his shell companies would have been high on my list, but I wasn’t part of the 400, who were selected from establishment media staffs. The Panama Papers reporters then – and now – have given Browder a pass.

Note what Glenn Simpson said about Browder and Mossack Fonseca in his testimony:

“We investigated William Browder’s business

16  practices in Russia, we began to understand maybe

17  what it was he didn’t want to talk about, and as we

18  looked at that we then began to look at his

19  decision to surrender his American citizenship in

20  1998. At that point somewhere in there the Panama

21   papers came out and we discovered that he had

22  incorporated shell companies offshore in the mid

23  1990s, in 1995 I believe it was in the British

24  Virgin Islands, and that at some point his hedge

25  fund’s shares had been transferred to this offshore

Page 48

1   company.

2  This offshore company was managed — several

3  of his offshore companies were managed by the

4  Panamanian law firm called Mossack Fonseca,

5  M-O-S-S-A-C-K, Fonseca, F-O-N-S-E-C-A, which is

6  known now for setting up offshore companies for

7  drug kingpins, narcos, kleptos, you name it. They

8  were servicing every bad guy around. And I’m

9   familiar with them from other money laundering and

10  corruption and tax evasion investigations that I’ve

11  done.

12  I’ll note parenthetically that William

13   Browder talks a lot about the Panama papers and the

14  Russians who are in the Panama papers without ever

15  mentioning that he’s in the Panama papers. This

16  is, again, a public fact that you can check

17   on-line.”

Note also the list of big media Simpson says he tried to sell his take on the Browder story:

“So it was Bloomberg, New York

23  Times, Wall Street Journal, probably Reuters, Legal

24  360. I’m sure there were a handful of others.

25  Q. Was the Financial Times possibly one of

Page 100

1   them?

2   Yes.

3  Q. Politico?

14  Q. What about NBC?

15  A. We would have — I’m sorry. Yes.

16  Q. And the New Republic?

17  A. I think so.”

Did he tell them about Browder’s Hermitage Fund “Panama Papers” companies? Ask them. Did any of them write about Browder’s Mossack Fonseca shells? Noooooo. Why? The wrong political line at a time of coldwar 2.0?

They might have found these pretty solid documents.

They were linked to in my 100Reporters exposé of Browder in October. That might have encouraged some reporters to look into his Mossack Fonseca connection. Well, not really.

Here’s the top of the ICIJ email I just got.

——– Forwarded Message ——–

Subject: Stories of collaboration: Scouring the Paradise Papers, with the help of almost 400 new friends: The ICIJ Global Muckraker
Date: Fri, 12 Jan 2018 18:52:38 +0000
From: ICIJ <noreply+feedproxy@google.com>
Reply-To: ICIJ <website@icij.org>

Stories of collaboration: Scouring the Paradise Papers, with the help of almost 400 new friends: The ICIJ Global Muckraker

Posted: 11 Jan 2018 09:52 AM PST

It links to a New York Times story of a few months ago.

Not out of date. No comment about Browder by ICIJ or the 400 has appeared since then.

Browder must have been snickering loudly when he tweeted this attack on Mossack Fonseca, knowing full well that he had snookered the American and other western media into ignoring anything Simpson might have told them about his Mossack Fonseca shell company structure. My question is when ICIJ, the NYTimes and the others of the 400 will add Browder to their august list. I’m not holding my breath.

Glenn Simpson’s full testimony.

 

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