Erik Voorhees, CEO of ShapeShift.io, and Charlie Shrem, Founder of the Bitcoin Foundation, have been named in the Panama Papers Leak.
From embezzlement to evading sanctions
The Panama Papers, as they have been dubbed, are 11.5 million leaked documents that contain financial information of more than 214, 488 entities associated with the Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca.
The leaked documents illustrate how wealthy individuals, including public officials, have been able to hide their financial information for often, but by no means always, rather nefarious reasons.
While the use of tax havens such as Panama is not illegal, some of the shell corporations named have been used for illegal purposes, including fraud, embezzlement of state funds, tax evasion, and evading international sanctions.
Before reading too much into someone’s appearance, it is important to consider the site’s disclaimer:
“There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts. We do not intend to suggest or imply that any persons, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly.”
Voorhees and Shrem in focus
When the full papers were released to the public by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), many were quick to do some investigation of their own.
Erik Voorhees appears twice, once under his full name, Erik Tristan Voorhees, while Charlie Shrem, who is currently serving a two-year prison sentence for aiding and abetting the operation of an unlicensed money-transmitting business related to the Silk Road in Lewisburg, PA, appears once.
Voorhees was quick to address concerns in the Reddit thread, saying, “I'll just nip this one in the bud... Charlie and I set up a corp entity to co-invest in a seed round in EVR, which was a nightclub in NYC run by a friend of Charlie's.” via his Reddit handle, /u/evoorhees.
However, users disagreed over the morality of his actions. Although /u/loserkids sided with Voorhees, saying,
“You don't have to explain anything. I don't even understand why would anyone care about non-government people doing whatever the f**k they want with their money and businesses. It's politicians and other government parasites living off of and stealing other people's money that should be publicly scrutinized.”
Others criticised him, arguing that his failure to pay his due taxes was immoral.
As /u/TinBurner put it:
“Well, while I agree with the sentiment, I do not agree with what you say in context of the current state of affairs. Whether Erik was doing something shady, or doing what he mentions above, he is avoiding US taxes. I pay my US taxes in full. So basically Erik is getting the benefits of the US economics and security while not paying his full share - like I am. Simply put - he is a leech. And I don't like leeches.”