The Panama Papers


The Panama Papers – Bastian Obermayer & Frederik Obermaier

This is the third article in our new series about the books that are currently popular in our company book clubs. This carefully curated list includes titles that focus on technology, wellness, politics, the workplace and the economy. To check out the service offering and book a consultation click here.

The Relevance

You can’t label many books a worldwide phenomenon, but The Panama Papers is one of the lucky few. Not only did it lift the lid on the murky undercurrents of the offshore world, but it forced companies, governments and individuals to overhaul the ways they calculated risk. In the wake of its revelations, the fear of leaked information has overtaken regulation, morals or ethics as the biggest driver of ‘good’ corporate behavior.

It is essential reading for all senior executives, as well as anyone interested in how the darker components of the global financial system operate. The Panama Papers reading like a fast paced thriller, the two Obermayers/iers immerse the readers in the biggest financial leak of the century in real time. Page by page, they unearth the secret lives of the rich and powerful, and how, with the help of various shady financial structures, they elude the strictures of government and taxation. Told looking over the shoulders of the sprawling web of journalists who were recruited to uncover the scandal, The Panama Papers is true white-collar crime at its most calculated. It also gets readers thinking about the difficulties facing regulators and what steps can be taken to bring the cowboyish elements of the financial sector into line.


The Story

Late one evening, investigative journalist Bastian Obermayer is sent an anonymous message offering him access to secret data. Through encrypted channels he then receives documents revealing how the president of Argentina has sequestered millions of dollars of state money for private use. This is just the beginning. Over the next hours, days and months, the incriminating documents keep piling in, revealing the true scale of the elite’s secret lives. It’s too much for just two journalists. They call on colleagues across the globe in order to delegate and collaborate on this mighty project. It will take them years to complete, and the fallout will be monumental.

The Creators

The serendipitously named Obermayer and Obermaier were the beneficiaries of a leak from an anonymous source, whose identity they have since protected diligently. Receiving leaked documents is a relatively run-of-the-mill occurrence for an investigative journalist, with many of them uninteresting or irrelevant. But it quickly became clear that this was something special. Though much of the book is spent glossing through documents and tracing out duplicitous connections between bank accounts on a computer screen, they have weaved together a compelling narrative that places you at the dramatic tip of the investigation.

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