Insider threats continue to be the biggest risk to any organization. The Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca just found out how dangerous these leaks can be. An insider has just leaked 11 million documents exposing tax evasion from some of the wealthiest people in the world. These documents highlight some very fraudulent business dealings that include money laundering and questionable ways to hide money from the government.
The document leaks could be a tremendous hit on the company’s reputation and customer base. They named several high-profile government officials and the ways they avoided paying taxes in their respective countries. Some examples include Icelandic Prime Minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugson, Russian President Vladimir Putin and US millionaire and life coach Marianna Olszewski.
The data leak also includes emails to some of these high profile customers explaining how they could hide money from the government. For instance, an email from one Mossack execute to Marianna Olszewski explains how could use fake documents to trick banks in an effort to money launder and evade US tax authorities.
Mossack was also linked to a billion-dollar Russian money laundering ring that may involve Russian President Putin. The operation was run by Bank Rossiya.
Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugson was linked to offshore investments in which he did not declare an interest in his own country’s failed banks. The release of these documents could lead to his forced resignation.
Mossack’s response to this data leak is to focus on the company’s 40-year reputation. They announced that they had never been charged with any criminal wrong-doing in its 40 years in business. While this may be true, the recent document leak could lead to several lawsuits and possibly Mossack’s demise as a business.
The incident highlights yet another huge breach in security that can lead to a 40-year-old company’s demise. This demise would be simply from the insider threat that leaked the documents. While the company was performing illegal activities, the data leak likely came from an insider who had access to much of the company’s emails and activity. The insider could have used it for blackmail or other purposes. The incident shows that companies should always be concerned with who has access to what documents and always monitor access and activity on this crucial data.