DiscoverPost ReportsA tax haven in America’s heartland
A tax haven in America’s heartland

A tax haven in America’s heartland

Update: 2021-10-045


The United States has long condemned secretive offshore tax havens where the rich and powerful hide their money. But a burgeoning American trust industry now shelters the assets of wealthy foreigners by promising even greater secrecy and protection. That same secrecy has insulated the industry from meaningful oversight and allowed it to gain new footholds in states like South Dakota and Alaska.

The Washington Post and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) gained unprecedented insight into the money flowing into U.S. trusts through a trove of more than 11.9 million documents, among the largest of its kind, maintained by financial services providers around the world. 

Their findings are revealed in a new investigation, the Pandora Papers, that exposes how foreign political and corporate leaders or their relatives moved money and other assets from long-established tax havens to obscure trust companies in the United States. In many cases, the assets were connected to individuals or companies accused of fraud, bribery and human rights abuses in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.


In this audio report, Post reporter Debbie Cenziper, producer Ted Muldoon and ICIJ reporter Will Fitzgibbon travel from the sugar cane fields of the Dominican Republic to the beaches of California to back rooms of Sioux Falls to examine how this industry came to be, who profits from it and whom it harms.









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A tax haven in America’s heartland

A tax haven in America’s heartland

The Washington Post