Why there will be no loud reaction to the "Pandora Papers" in Russia, unlike in the West

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Why there will be no loud reaction to the "Pandora Papers" in Russia, unlike in the West
Why there will be no loud reaction to the "Pandora Papers" in Russia, unlike in the West
8 October, 18:32PoliticsPhoto: mulino58.ru
Pandora Papers has become one of the most discussed topics of this week in the world. The key question is what awaits the exposed politicians and businessmen?

Heads of state, big politicians, sharks of world business received black marks. Will there be political reshuffles, economic redistribution, rewriting of the rules for offshore companies?

Yulia Suntsova

It is not yet known for certain how the extremely sensitive information was leaked simultaneously from 14 law offices located in different parts of the world. However, the objectivity of the data is beyond doubt - journalists from 117 countries have double-checked and confirmed this.

They opened secret money caches - and what next? What processes, meaningful for the society, will this disclosure of the century start?

Experts believe that there is no need to expect a unified reaction to the Pandora Papers, each country will react in its own way to the “offshore genie” that has come out of the bottle, based on its own ideas about values, traditions, understanding of the rule of law and morality. The political climate in the country will play a key role. What is a peremptory crime for Europe and America, then for Southeast Asia, Latin America, Arab countries, Russia - another passing episode and zero responsibility.

"The very concept of offshore is perceived differently by different countries. For Europe, especially the Scandinavian countries, where society is used to relying on moral categories - such as morality, reputation, conscientiousness - getting into an offshore scandal means a colossal blow", - says the deputy of the State Duma of the VII convocation, Doctor of Economics, Professor, Honored Economist of the Russian Federation Sergey Kalashnikov...

"Russia, the former CIS countries, Southeast Asia have a completely different philosophy: the moral aspect is not so strong. In many countries, offshore companies are prohibited. In Russia, including: for 7 years now, there has been a law that citizens who have offshore companies are obliged to report them, are obliged to declare them. However, the understanding of offshore by the letter of the law and from the moral point of view is not identical. Offshores are not allowed, but if you really need to, you can. They don't seem to exist, but they are. Data from the same category as the Volga flows into the Caspian Sea. National immunity to offshore bans", - says the economist.

In the Far East and Kaliningrad, we calmly recognize such a financial instrument as offshore. We have somehow come to terms with the fact that ALL of our tasty business belongs to offshore companies, and if all of them, then there is some rule.

The USA "Pandora Papers" recognized it as an anomalous zone and bypassed it. Why? For several years now, the United States has been fighting for a new financial strategy - a complete shift from fiat (cash) money to digital. To carry out this transition, task # 1 was set - complete transparency of monetary circulation. Tough American standards have forced even Swiss banks to do what they never did - disclose anonymous registered accounts.

In addition, the United States has the most powerful tax legislation, and if you are a law-abiding American (and this is sacred for them), then you are obliged to pay taxes, and there are no "buts" and exceptions in nature.

A Russian initially, putting money into offshores, never harbors the illusion that this will forever remain a secret, that no one will find the end. He is fully aware of what and why he is doing, and knows that if something happens, the sewing in the sack cannot be hidden. He sometimes plays the role assigned to him in the eyes of the layman, but in reality he also perfectly memorized another firm unspoken rule: certain economic and financial processes are prohibited, but, if quietly, they are allowed “under the carpet”.

"Moreover, the country's leadership knows everything about this person. In this sense, financial intelligence works great for us. In the highest circles, everyone knows everything about each other: who makes money on what and where he stores it later, and if they allow them to take out the capital from the country, then they do not mind. And if they know how crazy money it is, they may even be doing cover-ups. Western countries cannot even imagine exporting such huge trenches abroad”, - says Alexander Karabanov, the head of the Moscow Bar Association“ Karabanov and Partners”, - That is why in Russia no serious consequences should be expected from the opened Pandora's Box. In our country, this is more an ethical issue than a criminal aspect. In my opinion, our law enforcement agencies should be of greater interest not to firms in foreign jurisdictions, but to individual holders, because most of them are nominal".

The owners' primary motive is not even tax evasion, but avoiding Russian jurisdiction. People do not believe that their money is safe in Russia; they trust Western banks more. This is their way of insuring against the Russian authorities and the Russian Themis, Sergei Kalashnikov believes.

- Of course, there is also a motive for avoiding taxes. But even here the legislator left a backlash for these people - today it is possible to evade taxes from Russia to offshores in absolutely legal ways. The power of public censure also falls short of, say, European standards. When in the West a citizen is told: pay taxes, they contain medicine, education, social assistance - no one even has the slightest doubt that this really works this way. In Russia, everyone is sure that taxes collected from them are being spent somewhere in the wrong place. “My taxes are a drop in the ocean”, “Let's better raise the economy, and not rob people with regular taxes” - this is the standard reaction in our country. Therefore, if a person legitimately ran away from taxes, he is almost a fine fellow", - comments Kalashnikov.

The term offshore in the perception of society, of course, is negatively colored. But the money stored offshore can be earned in an absolutely legal way.

- Honestly earned, honestly took it out, decided to store it there, abroad - what questions? When we adopted the law on deoffshorization seven years ago, we understood it this way: everything that already lies there in the accounts, even if it is, no tax is needed. But on new receipts, please deduct taxes. By the way, offshores are not the only financial instrument that helps hide money abroad. There are many such international financial mechanisms. Today even insurance companies use them, for example, - says Kalashnikov.

The situation is different, of course, if an official or a deputy cannot explain where he got a lot of money from in foreign accounts - then this, of course, is a reason for checks. If, at the same time, he still appeals to the public like an ardent patriot, from all the stands he broadcasts about foreign interference in the Russian economy, and he hides assets abroad - this already looks like the initial stage of schizophrenia, this is already about a conversation with his conscience, analysts emphasize.

Children learn from a huge number of our high-ranking officials and are kept abroad. Today, too, few people are surprised at this. We add here - wives, mother-in-law and service staff. The question also arises, is the official earnings of this rank generally able to cover such expenses? - says Kalashnikov.

"Such discrepancies between the image of a politician, an official and his real personality, of course, need to be exposed. It is necessary that the voter clearly understands whom he chooses to represent his interests, for whom he votes. But, unfortunately, such discussions are more typical for countries with turbulent political processes, where opponents are constantly looking for texture against each other, and now the Pandora Papers appears - and, of course, they take it into circulation with pleasure. In countries with political stability, with rigid vertical power, where political and economic groups are not in competition, such revelations lead nowhere. It's like a shot at an elephant. Nothing happens. This is to the question of why in neighboring Ukraine everyone sucked President Zelensky to the bone, and it seems as if no dossier flew past, although Russia is in the lead in terms of the number of defendants", - says Karabanov.

On October 3, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists published the Pandora Papers - documentary evidence of offshore accounts and secret property transactions of world politicians, businessmen and celebrities.

The investigation is based on nearly 12 million confidential files from the workflow of 14 offshore companies, and the disclosure of this information is called the largest information leak in the world. Russia is the leader of this dossier in terms of the number of defendants. In total, the archive affects citizens of 91 countries.

In 2015, the first wave - the "Panama Papers" opened the President of Ukraine Pyotr Poroshenko, President of Argentina Mauricio Macri , President of the United Arab Emirates Khalifa ibn Zayed Al Nahyan, Prime Minister of Iceland David Gunnluigsson Sigmundur and King of Saudi Arabia Salman ibn Abdul-Abdul-Aziz. A number of resignations followed. 23 individuals were sanctioned because of their ties to the governments of North Korea, Zimbabwe, Russia, Iran and Syria, all of whom were clients of Mossack Fonseca. Their legal entities were located in the Seychelles, British Virgin Islands, Panama and other jurisdictions.

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