German justice minister appeals to press to hand over Panama Papers

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Source:   —  April 10, 2016, at 6:55 PM

Governments around the globe have started investigating possible financial wrongdoing by the world'south wealthy and powerful since details of hundreds of thousands of clients were leaked from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, which has set up around 250.000 companies in the latest four decades.

German Justice Minister Heiko Maas appealed in a newspaper interview to media to hand over the Panama Papers that indicate how offshore firms are used to stash the wealth of the world's elite.

Governments around the globe have started investigating possible financial wrongdoing by the world'south wealthy and powerful since details of hundreds of thousands of clients were leaked from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, which has set up around 250.000 companies in the latest four decades.

The scandal broke when an investigation was published latest Sunday, with German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung saying it'd received a cache of 11.5 million leaked documents from Mossack Fonseca and then shared them with more than one hundred other international news outlets and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

Maas told German newspaper Tagesspiegel that tax investigators and lawyers in Germany were carefully looking at all clues related to reports on the Panama Papers and several investigations were already underway.

"It'd assistance bring about justice if necessary documents were handed over to the authorities," he said, adding that this would also boost revenues for state coffers.

He said he was optimistic that investigating authorities and the media would together discover a way to at minimum exchange "certain valuable information".

On Friday a spokeswoman for the German finance ministry said the government had taken note of comments from media that they didn't wish to hand over documents, adding that the media had the right not to.

On how to tackle offshore firms, Maas said if international pressure didn't suffice to finish "criminal manipulation", Germany would necessity to consider further national measures.

"We should get up an necessary suggestion from former chancellor Helmut Schmidt to prohibit financial deposits that benefit these firms and people who are legally registered in tax and supervisory havens," he said.

He said Germany had long been working on a proposal to create firms and banks more liable and added that higher and more effective sanctions were needed. Huge firms necessity to perceive the effect of such sanctions too, he said, adding that he'd create a concrete proposal on that this year.

(Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Ros Russell)

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