Business and Finance

Panama Papers: Mossack Fonseca say leak is ‘not an inside job’

Around 115 million records kept by law firm Mossack Fonseca were leaked to the press

Around 115 million records kept by law firm Mossack Fonseca were leaked to the press. Image: geralt on creative commons CC0 licence.

One of the founders of Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm at the centre of leaked data revealing details of offshore holdings, denies that the documents were leaked by an insider.

Ramon Fonseca says the company was the ‘victim of a hack’.

He says they have traced the server responsible for hacking to be from abroad.

Mr. Fonseca told Reuters news agency at the company’s headquarters in Panama City’s business district:

We rule out an inside job. This is not a leak. This is a hack. We have a theory and we are following it.

We are amazed that nobody has said: ‘Hey, a crime has been committed here.’

He then added that a ‘government institution; is currently studying the issue.’

Mr. Fonseca also told AFP news agency:

The world is already accepting that privacy is not a human right.

Last week millions of documents were passed to German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, which then shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

The leaked documents contain confidential financial data which show how Mossack Fonseca have helped clients place their assets in concealed offshore havens.

Mossack Fonseca have been in business for 40 years.

They say they have operated perfectly legally and have never before been accused of criminal activity.

Biggest in history

The story is being described as perhaps the biggest data leak in history.

The Panama data is a huge 2.6 terabytes of digital memory, well over a thousandfold larger than the amount of data released as part of Wikileaks in 2010.

Newly elected FIFA president Gianni Infantino is the latest high profile figure to be in the eye of the storm.

It’s being alleged that while working for UEFA he signed off on a contract in 2006 with two businessmen who have since been accused of bribery.

Infantino (left) is being investigated by Swiss police (Image: Flickr: Infantino (left) is being investigated by Swiss police (Image: Flickr: Piotr Drabik. Creative Commons licence.)

Gianni Infantino (left) is being investigated by Swiss police. Image: Flickr: Piotr Drabik. Creative Commons licence.

Mr. Infantino said he was unhappy with the media’s portrayal of the issue.

On Tuesday he said:

I am dismayed and will not accept that my integrity is being doubted by certain areas of the media, especially given that UEFA has already disclosed in detail all facts regarding these contracts.

On Wednesday, Swiss police raided UEFA’s offices after he was named in the Panama Papers.

Other high profile names involved in the leak include Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson and his wife, who it was revealed owned a company in the British Virgin Islands that held bonds worth millions of dollars.

He resigned yesterday amid the fallout.

Also identified in the leaked files include the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Iraq’s former interim prime minister and the President of the Nigerian senate.

What and where are these so-called tax havens?

A tax haven is a country or independent area where taxes are levied at a low rate.

A host of UK territories appear in Mossack Fonseca’s files.

Video courtesy of the Press Association. 


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