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Panama Papers whistleblower speaks out: ‘Politicians must act – now’

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In first public comments since 2016, leaker discusses their life in hiding and leaders’ failure to clamp down on tax havens

The anonymous whistleblower who leaked the Panama Papers has stepped forward to speak about their life in hiding, saying they believe the German government violated an agreement to provide adequate protection for them and their family.

Known only as John Doe, the whistleblower has never disclosed their identity or their gender. In a wide-ranging interview published in the German magazine Der Spiegel, the whistleblower said they feared a revenge attack and may never feel safe enough to reveal their name. “I may have to wait until I’m on my deathbed,” they said.

The Panama Papers, published on 3 April 2016, was a landmark investigation into the previously hidden world of tax havens. It involved 400 journalists from news outlets around the world including the Guardian, coordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in Washington. It led to the resignations of prime ministers in Iceland and Pakistan, exposed a giant slush fund linked to Vladimir Putin, and went on to win a Pulitzer prize.

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