A Panama-based law firm is at the center of reports into the offshore financial activities of dozens of global leaders, businessmen and celebrities.
The investigative findings from the so-called “Panama Papers” are reportedly based on millions of files, including emails, financial spreadsheets and corporate records, that leaked from the internal database of Mossack Fonseca, a law firm that helps clients move money into offshore shell companies.
A German newspaper reportedly obtained the document trove from an anonymous source and shared it with an international consortium of news organizations, which published reports on the leaked information Sunday.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists said the leaked files contain information on more than 200,000 offshore entities “connected to people in more than 200 countries and territories.”
According to the ICIJ, “The more than 11 million documents obtained by ICIJ…represent the inner workings of Mossack Fonseca for nearly forty years, from 1977 to December 2015…They recount example after example of ethical and legal wrongdoing by clients and provide evidence of a firm happy to act as a gatekeeper to the secrets of its clients, even those who turn out to be crooks, members of the Mafia, drug dealers, corrupt politicians and tax evaders.”
The firm denied wrong doing in a statement to the consortium, “We only incorporate companies, which just about everyone acknowledges is important, and something that’s critical in ensuring the global economy functions efficiently. In providing those services, we follow both the letter and spirit of the law. Because we do, we have not once in nearly 40 years of operation been charged with criminal wrongdoing. We’re proud of the work we do, notwithstanding recent and willful attempts by some to mischaracterize it.”