Shell companies. Off-shore accounts. Hidden tax shelters. All in shady countries with lots of palm trees but not much in the way of legal inspection or surveyance. Over the years, many of us have become familiar, at least in theory, with the nuts and bolts of how wealthy corporations and individuals avoid paying taxes by rendering their profits invisible. But as you watch Alex Winter’s galvanizing documentary “The Panama Papers,” which deals with the revelations contained in one of the most important document dumps of the 21st century, the camera pulls back (metaphorically speaking) to show us what’s really going in with all that hide-your-assets-in-tropical-anonymity dirty business.
It started off as something that criminals did — like, for instance, drug kingpins, who have always needed a legitimate cover to clean and store their mountains of cash. In many ways, they pioneered and set the template for