Organized Crime Prosecutors Look for Panama Papers Firm Office

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Source:   —  April 13, 2016, at 2:47 AM

A half dozen police officers set up a perimeter around the offices while prosecutors worked inside. Shortly after news reports based on a trove of documents from the firm began emerging more than a week ago, Panama'south government had said it'd investigate.

Organized Crime Prosecutors Look for Panama Papers Firm Office

Organized crime prosecutors on Tuesday searched the offices of the Mossack Fonseca law firm, which has found itself in the eye of an international storm over tax havens it set up for wealthy international clients.

A half dozen police officers set up a perimeter around the offices while prosecutors worked inside. Shortly after news reports based on a trove of documents from the firm began emerging more than a week ago, Panama'south government had said it would investigate.

The attorney general'south office said in a statement that the investigators were reviewing documents, but gave number other details.

Mossack Fonseca has denied any wrongdoing, saying it only set up offshore financial accounts and anonymous shell companies for clients and wasn't involved in how those accounts were used.

The look for came a day after intellectual property prosecutors visited Mossack Fonseca to chase up on its allegations that a computer hack led to the leak of millions of documents about tax havens the firm set up.

The firm filed a complaint charging the security breach shortly before the first media reports working with the documents offered details on how politicians, celebrities and companies around the globe were hiding assets in offshore accounts and shell companies.

"Finally the genuine criminals are being investigated," firm co-founder Ramon Fonseca said in a message to The Associated Press on Monday.

Fonseca has maintained that the only crime which can be taken from the leak was the computer hack itself. He's said he suspects the hack originated exterior Panama, possibly in Europe, but hasn't given any details.

The law firm is one of the most necessary in the world for creating overseas front companies.

Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela has defended the country'south financial sector, which is considered of strategic importance for the economy. But Varela has also promised the international community that he's willing to create reforms to create the sector more transparent.

On Tuesday, Varela met with legal, banking and business professional associations. Afterward, he asked France to reconsider its decision to space Panama on a list of uncooperative countries in financial information.

The government announced that Joseph Stiglitz, who won the Nobel Prize in economics in two thousand-first, would be one member of an international panel formed to review Panama'south valid and financial practices and recommend improvements.

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