Panama Papers’ tax fraud investigations

Plaintiff seeks to anonymously sue Germany for alleged breach of contract to share revenue raised due to Panama Papers’ tax fraud investigations.

Unorthodox case prompts whistleblower advocate to question if Germany is running an ad hoc rewards program for whistleblowers that lacks formal protections.

A person claiming to be the whistleblower behind the Panama Papers is attempting to sue the German government and federal criminal police anonymously in a complex legal and financial dispute over an alleged deal to purchase the leaked dataset, according to a recent lawsuit filed in the United States.

On July 3, the Washington D.C. judge in the case, Chief Judge James Boasberg, ruled that the plaintiff could proceed with it using a pseudonym publicly — but would have to reveal their identity to the court.

The anonymous plaintiff argues that they should not have to provide the court with identifying information, as it would put their life in danger.

The plaintiff has accused German authorities of reneging on an alleged agreement to pay the source 10% of revenue over a 50 million euro threshold recouped from investigations into tax fraud and other financial offenses based on the trove of files, which Germany purchased in 2017, and is seeking more than $14 million in compensation.

In early 2015, the 11.5 million documents that later became known globally as the Panama Papers were leaked to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. ICIJ brought together a team of hundreds of investigative reporters from around the world, and their stories — published in Süddeutsche Zeitung and more than 100 media outlets — exposed the secret offshore holdings of world leaders, celebrities, criminals and more.

ICIJ is not commenting on its sources and never pays for information.
David Kenner and Hamish Boland-Rudder