Today’s Spain’s Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism José Manuel Soria has stepped down “after his conflicting explanations inflamed a scandal over links to an offshore company listed in the Panama leaks.” (quoted from Bloomberg)
Note something interesting about this – a lot of the politicians/policy makers involved in the Panama leaks are in someway related to the energy and commodity sectors and I am pretty sure that if you ranked the countries most tainted by this it would all be commodity exporting countries.
Take for example these names – who all are on the list of names in the Panama Papers:
Angola: José Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos, Minister of Petroleum
Venezuela: Jesús Villanueva, former Director of PDVSA (the State owned oil and gas company)
Algeria: Abdeslam Bouchouareb, Minister of Industry and Mines
…and of course Soria who was among other things was minister of….ENERGY.
This to a very large extent illustrates the problem of corruption and cronyism that is often related to rent-seeking in commodity producing countries.
Said in another way the Panama leaks are to a very large extent an illustration of the so-called Resource Curse and unlike what most of the European media have been focusing on about “tax shelters”.