Must Read Money Stories for Tuesday, April 2

by April 5, 2016

MRMS

The “Panama Papers”. The fallout continues after a huge data leak from a Panamanian law firm revealed a long list of influential figures who allegedly used offshore accounts to avoid taxes. The documents link Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Mossack Fonseca law firm, which created “shell companies” that allow companies to operate with secrecy. A report from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists lists several world leaders – including the president of Ukraine and King of Saudi Arabia. A Washington Post op-ed calls it the “biggest corruption scandal in history.” The investigation has yet to reveal the name of a major American politician, but experts continue to pore over the data.

BP to pay up. The Associated Press reports that BP will pay approximately $20 billion, according to a civil settlement approved by a federal judge Monday. The money will go to the U.S. federal government and five states on the Gulf of Mexico affected by the massive 2010 oil spill. BP has been held responsible for the explosion of an oil rig that dumped about five million barrels of oil into the Gulf. BP has already pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of the 11 workers killed in the explosion. Monday was a notable day for the oil industry. TransCanada shut down the Keystone pipeline over concerns that a pipe was leaking in South Dakota.

Tax inversion rules could affect Pfizer. The U.S. Treasury Department attempts to crack down on corporate inversions may endanger one of Pfizer’s upcoming merger’s, the Wall Street Journal reports. Corporate inversion allows a company to avoid certain domestic taxes by using a foreign address after merging with a foreign company. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says the strategy shifts a “greater tax burden” onto Americans. Pfizer has been planning to merge with Allergan Plc, which has its headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. Allergan shares have dropped since the Treasury Department’s announcement Monday.

Protecting trade secrets. Congress looks set to pass a bipartisan bill that would give new powers to companies that were the victim of intellectual property theft. Those companies would be able to sue in federal court, Reuters reports. Federal laws already ban the theft of trade secrets, which pertain to confidential information like designs, algorithms and customer lists. The co-sponsor total in the Senate has reached 65, and the White House has indicated its support.

Petty Officer 1st Class Michael B. Watkins of the U.S. Navy. CC license CC by 2.0