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Prosecutors Around The Globe Initiate Probe Over Tax Dodging Leaked Through Panama Papers

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(Credit: RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images) View of a sign outside the building where Panama-based Mossack Fonseca law firm offices are in Panama City, on April 4, 2016. A massive leak -coming from Mossack Fonseca- of 11.5 million tax documents on Sunday exposed the secret offshore dealings of aides to Russian president Vladimir Putin, world leaders and celebrities including Barcelona forward Lionel Messi. An investigation into the documents by more than 100 media groups, described as one of the largest such probes in history, revealed the hidden offshore dealings in the assets of around 140 political figures -- including 12 current or former heads of states.PANAMA-PAPERS-MOSSACK-FONSECA
April 6
4:37 AM 2016

Investigations to unearth probable financial wrongdoings by the rich and influential have been initiated by several governments around the globe. The probes are being held following leakage of documents covering four decades tenure from a Panamanian law firm. Mossac Fonseca, the law firm is familiar for establishing offshore companies.

Financial arrangements of politicians and public figures have been revealed through the leaked 'Panama Papers'. The dignitaries include friends of Russian and Ukrainian Presidents, relatives of the prime ministers of Britain, Iceland and Pakistan.

Depositing money in offshore companies is not illegal. However, the leaked documents represent evidence of wealth hidden to abate tax, money laundering, sanctions bursting or other crimes, reports Reuters, citing journalists with physical knowledge on the papers as the source.

The Panamanian law firm has reportedly helped establishing 240,000 offshore companies entertaining clients across the globe. It has denied any wrongdoing and portrayed itself as a victim of a campaign against privacy. However, Mossack Fonseca has accused media for misrepresenting the nature of its service through a statement posted on its website on Monday.

Meanwhile, Panama prosecutors have initiated criminal probe against alleged tax evasion and money laundering events contained in the leaked documents. The investigations from state prosecutor's office will cover prominent politicians, celebrities and sportspeople whom the documents have accused for tax dodging, according to a report published in Sky News.

French prosecutors have also announced on Monday that they were opening a preliminary investigation for aggravated tax fraud. The tax evasion information revealed through the leaked documents is likely to concern French taxpayers, cites a statement from the Prosecutor's office. French President, François Hollande, has also vowed for legal proceedings following scrutiny of the documents, reports France 24.

A spokesperson from the US Department of Justice informs probing evidence of corruption and other violations of US law. Despite lack of transparency existing in many of the leaked transactions, the US experts will be able to find out violations of sanctions and laws, predicts a White House spokesperson.

Germany has also listed its name in the list probing the 'Panama Papers' leak. Bafin, the German central bank has been assigned to investigate possible wrongdoings. A finance ministry official has confirmed the investigation.

Australia, Austria, Sweden and the Netherlands have also initiated investigation on the basis of 11.5 million leaked documents. Banks are also in the limelight since they have allegedly aided their clients in hiding wealth offshore.

Depositing money in offshore companies is not illegal, but intention to abate tax or aiding in money laundering is definitely criminal offence. Following 'Panama Papers' leaks, the US, France, Panama, Australia, Austria, Sweden and the Netherlands have initiated probe in search of any wrong doing. Besides the rich and influential, the probes also target banks due to their alleged involvement in tax dodging. 

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