Prosecutors Raid Panama Papers Office

Authorities seeking evidence of money laundering
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 13, 2016 2:15 AM CDT
Prosecutors Raid Panama Papers Office
A police car sits outside the Mossack Fonseca law firm while organized crime prosecutors raid the offices in Panama City, Tuesday, April 12, 2016.    (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

Organized crime prosecutors in Panama raided the offices of the Mossack Fonseca law firm Tuesday looking for evidence of money laundering and financing terrorism following a leak of documents about tax havens it set up for wealthy international clients. Soon after news reports based on a trove of documents from the firm began emerging more than a week ago, Panama's government had said it would investigate. A half-dozen police officers set up a perimeter around the offices while prosecutors searched inside for documents, the AP reports.

The attorney general's office said in a statement that the objective of the raid was "to obtain documentation linked to the information published in news articles that establish the use of the firm in illicit activities." Mossack Fonseca has denied any wrongdoing, saying it only set up offshore financial accounts and anonymous shell companies for clients and was not involved in how those accounts were used. The law firm claims that the only real crime that can be taken from the leak is an alleged computer hack, possibly from outside Panama, that led to media reports on how politicians, celebrities, and companies around the globe were hiding assets in offshore accounts and shell companies. (Edward Snowden has been pushing for British PM David Cameron's resignation over the leak.)

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