Panama leaks spur global investigations
April 4, Washington: Authorities across the world are being spurred into action after a huge leak of confidential documents revealed how tax havens are used to hide wealth, news reports said.
Eleven million documents were leaked from the secretive Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. They show how the company has helped some clients launder money, dodge sanctions and avoid tax.
The company said it has operated beyond reproach for 40 years and has never been charged with criminal wrong-doing.
A number of investigations have been launched since the first revelations late on Sunday, by Austrian, Dutch and Australian authorities, among others, BBC reported.
The documents show 12 current or former heads of state, and at least 60 people linked to current or former world leaders, in the data. The files reveal a suspected billion-dollar money laundering ring involving close associates of Russia's President Vladimir Putin.
Iceland's Prime Minister, Sigmundur Gunnlaugson, is also shown to have had an undeclared interest linked to his wife's wealth.
By Monday morning, 16,000 people in Iceland had signed a petition demanding his resignation, and a large protest is expected in Reykjavik later.
Gerard Ryle, director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), who co-ordinated the investigations, said the documents covered the day-to-day business at Mossack Fonseca over the past 40 years, news report said.