New raid on Panama Papers law firm: report

This is the second raid in as many weeks on Mossack Fonseca in Panama


Afp April 23, 2016
PHOTO: REUTERS

PANAMA CITY: Panamanian authorities launched a new raid Friday on an address linked to the law firm at the heart of the Panama Papers scandal, local media reported.

Prosecutors focused on organized crime "carried out a raid on a storage property belonging to the firm Mossack Fonseca," La Prensa newspaper said, publishing a photo of people putting documents into a vehicle.

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Prosecutors confirmed to AFP that a raid "is under way" but did not provide further details.

After the raid, Mossack Fonseca said it was "ready to cooperate with investigations under way" and that the contents of the storage area was "information" prosecutors already had from an earlier inspection.

The firm stressed in the statement that it was shredded paper awaiting recycling.

It was the second raid in as many weeks on Mossack Fonseca in Panama. On April 12, the same prosecutorial unit swooped on the firm's main offices for a search that lasted 27 hours.

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Officials said after that first raid that no evidence was uncovered to support charges. They added that the firm kept its records on more than 100 servers located at different addresses.

Mossack Fonseca is a discreet law firm based in Panama and founded by two local, well-connected lawyers specialized in creating and fronting offshore companies for the world's wealthy.

Forty years of its digital archives were handed to a pair of German journalists who organized a worldwide media investigation of the documents they contained.

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That has led to numerous scandals as the names of sovereigns, politicians, sporting stars, celebrities and some criminals have come to light, and as the breadth of tax evasion has emerged.

Mossack Fonseca insists it did nothing illegal and says its servers were hacked from abroad, making it a victim of cybertheft.

But authorities in Panama are promising to adopt global standards on sharing tax information, which would impact the way Mossack Fonseca has done business.

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