Panama Police raid Mossack Fonseca offices

Police in Panama raid headquarters of Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the centre of a massive data leak

Police in Panama have raided the headquarters of Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the centre of a massive data leak, according to international media reports.

The leaks have caused significant ripples the world over, with Icelandic PM Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson resigning among others, following the publications that showed how some wealthy people use offshore firms to evade tax and avoid sanctions.

Prosecutors said the operation had been carried out at the offices of Mossack Fonseca in Panama City "without incident or interference", but the firm has denied any wrongdoing. It insists it is the victim of a hack and that the information is being misrepresented.

Police carried out the raid along with officials from an organised crime unit and officers set up a perimeter around the headquarters while prosecutors entered the offices to search for documents. A statement by the attorney general's office reads that the aim of the raid had been "to obtain documentation linked to the information published in news articles that establish the use of the firm in illicit activities".

The statement added that searches would also take place at subsidiaries of the firm.

Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela has promised to work with other countries to improve transparency in its offshore financial industry. Panama's government promised an investigation soon after news reports emerged more than a week ago based on more than 11 million documents from the firm, and many other countries are probing possible financial crimes by the rich and powerful in the aftermath of the leak.

Mossack Fonseca partner Ramon Fonseca says the company had been hacked by servers based abroad and has filed a complaint with the Panamanian attorney general's office. Fonseca served as a minister in Valera's government but stepped aside earlier this year after separate allegations linked the firm to the corruption scandal engulfing the Brazilian state oil company Petrobras.

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