Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Miami's luxury real estate boom connected to Panama Papers

Posted By on Tue, Apr 5, 2016 at 10:06 AM

One of the biggest data leaks in history, the Panama Papers, was published last weekend by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and newspapers across the world.

The data trove is primarily focused on how Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca helped create shell companies and offshore accounts for global billionaires, politicians, celebrities and even criminals to hide their wealth and avoid taxes. 

But the leak also exposed the inner world of South Florida's luxury real-estate boom. The Miami Herald reports: 

"Money from people linked to wrongdoing abroad is helping to power the gleaming condo towers rising on South Florida’s waterfront and pushing home prices far beyond what most locals can afford.

The leak comes as the U.S. government unleashes an unprecedented crackdown on money laundering in Miami’s luxury real-estate market...A Miami Herald analysis of the never-before-seen records found 19 foreign nationals creating offshore companies and buying Miami real estate. Of them, eight have been linked to bribery, corruption, embezzlement, tax evasion or other misdeeds in their home countries.

That’s a drop in the ocean of Miami’s luxury market. But Mossack Fonseca is one of many firms that set up offshore companies. And experts say a lack of controls on cash real-estate deals has made Miami a magnet for questionable currency."

Read the rest of the Herald's story here. You can find ICIJ's investigation of the Panama Papers here.

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