No evidence against embattled Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca has been found in order to take action against it, Panama’s public prosecutor said Wednesday, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP). Panamanian officials raided the firm's offices Tuesday to investigate the massive leak that revealed offshore accounts of several bigwigs and companies.
Authorities seized various digital files after the 27-hour raid. The Panamanian government said it was looking for evidence of any unlawful activities at the law firm, Reuters reported. However, no such evidence was reportedly found.
“Right now we don’t have any strong evidence allowing us to take any sort of decision,” Javier Caraballo, the prosecutor, said, according to AFP. “The information we have collected is what will permit us to have evidence to take a decision later on,” Caraballo said, adding that the probe was complicated because the firm kept most of its records in digital form, on computer servers, and not on paper.
The leaked trove of over 11.5 million documents, dubbed Panama Papers, exposed several offshore accounts of world leaders, celebrities and companies. The papers, with data spanning nearly 40 years, from 1977 through the end of 2015, allegedly revealed that some of the major companies were being used for suspected money laundering, arms and drug deals, and tax evasion.
However, Mossack Fonseca has called itself a victim of campaign against privacy and said that the leak was, in fact, a hack. The firm’s co-founders Jürgen Mossack and Ramon Fonseca have denied any wrongdoing.
Panama’s chief state prosecutor, Kenia Porcell, said earlier Wednesday that “in Panama, tax evasion does not constitute a crime,” AFP reported. He added that the Central American nation was extending “all necessary cooperation” to investigate the scandal.
The Panamanian government is set to form an international committee of experts to propose ways to bring improvements in the country’s offshore financial industry. Last Wednesday, Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela defended his country, calling the release of the data a “media attack” by wealthy countries, which he said were overlooking their own drawbacks and unfairly denouncing the Central American nation.