British banks forced to disclose links to Panama Papers firm

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Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 9:15 PM

Huge British banks have been given just over a week to disclose their links with the law firm at the heart of the Panama Papers scandal.

British banks forced to disclose links to Panama Papers firm

Large British banks have been given just over a week to disclose their links with the law firm at the heart of the Panama Papers scandal.

The U. K. Financial Conduct Authority said Thursday it's asked twenty banks and other financial firms to disclose their dealings with Mossack Fonseca, after reports that some of them allegedly helped clients cover money from tax authorities.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists said its analysis of a enormous data leak from the Panama-based firm showed banks including HSBC (HSBC), Credit Suisse (CS), UBS (UBS), Societe Generale (SCGLF) worked with Mossack Fonseca to set up offshore shell companies for their clients.

All of the banks rejected the claims. None has commented on their alleged involvement with Mossack Fonseca.

"We require all authorized firms to have systems and controls in space to mitigate the risk that they might be used to commit financial crime," the British financial regulator said in a statement explaining the move.

The FCA said it wants the banks to complete their preliminary review of ties with Mossack Fonseca and related companies by April fifteen. The deadline was first reported by the Financial Times.

Panama Papers: seven things to know

The ICIJ report is based on more than eleven million documents, emails and client reports leaked from Mossack Fonseca.

The ICIJ claims the documents indicate how the Panamanian law firm helped world leaders, executive and celebrities cover billions of dollars in shell companies and offshore accounts. CNNMoney hasn't been able to independently check the reports.

In a statement to CNN earlier this week, the firm said it'd done nothing wrong, and the reports would create confusion about offshore finance. The firm denied that many of the people named by the reports were its clients.

The publication of the reports sparked a enormous reaction around the world and governments in the U. K., France, Belgium, Australia, Mexico and other countries have pledged to inquire into for possible cases of tax evasion.

-- Label Thompson and Chris Liakos contributed to this article

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