Tax authorities in many European countries along with officials from Australia and New Zealand are probing local entities named in a massive leak of data on clients of a Panama-based law firm Sunday.
On Monday, the British government reportedly asked for a copy of leaked data on the clients of Mossack Fonseca so it can examine the information and act on any possible tax evasion. In France, President Francois Hollande promised legal proceedings against individuals named in the documents and thanked “the whistleblowers” for bringing the so-called Panama Papers to light.
“It's good news that we are aware of these revelations because it will bring in tax revenue from those who have defrauded,” Hollande reportedly said.
The Panama Papers contain tax details of hundreds of thousands of clients in more than 11.5 million documents of Mossack Fonseca. The papers, which span nearly 40 years, from 1977 through the end of 2015, allegedly show that some of the companies were being used for suspected money laundering, arms and drug deals and tax evasion.
The documents emerged in an investigation published Sunday by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and more than 100 other global news organizations.
Elsewhere in Europe, Norway’s Financial Supervisory Authority said it would ask for explanations from Norwegian banks named in the leak, according to Reuters. Austria’s financial markets regulator is also reportedly examining whether local lenders Raiffeisen Bank International and Hypo Landesbank Vorarlberg broke any anti-money laundering rules after they were named in the international data leak.
The documents also allegedly traced a network of secret offshore deals and loans worth $2 billion to close friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Guardian said. Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the claims as a plot against Russia, aimed at discrediting Putin prior to parliamentary elections this week.
The prime minister of Iceland, Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, has also been accused of hiding millions of dollars of investments in his country's banks behind a secretive offshore company.
The Australian Tax Office said Monday that it was investigating more than 800 wealthy clients of Mossack Fonseca, Reuters reported.