Massive Tax Haven Document Leak Exposes Corruption and Crime On Global Scale

A massive leak of millions of documents has revealed that heads of state, criminals and celebrities conduct and sometimes conceal their business activities in tax havens.

The leak exposes holdings in shadowy companies that are owned by 11 past and present heads of state, and reveals how partners of Russian President Vladimir Putin clandestinely transferred no less than $2 billion through banks and companies registered in tax shelters.

The source of the leaked documents is a very powerful yet not very well-known law firm called Mossack Fonseca.

This firm has branches in Hong Kong, Miami, Zurich and more than 35 other locations around the world, among them Israel.

The documents reveal many Israeli connections and disclose that businesspeople with Israeli citizenship as well as Israeli banks and companies have used the law firm to register companies in tax havens around the world.

The documents expose, among other things, firms controlled by the prime ministers of Iceland and Pakistan, the king of Saudi Arabia and the children of the president of Azerbaijan registered in tax havens.

They refer to at least 33 companies and individuals that have been on a United States government blacklist for having connections with Mexican drug lords, terror organizations like Hezbollah and rogue states like North Korea and Iran. One of the companies exposed in the leaked documents provided fuel for the aircraft used by the Syrian government to bomb and kill thousands of its citizens.

Among the revelations are secret manipulations by banks, companies and individuals connected to Vladimir Putin.

The documents name companies registered in tax havens that have links to the Russian president and his network, and have carried out money transfers of as much as $200 million at a time.

Putin’s associates disguised payments, backdated documents and accumulated influence behind the scenes at media companies and in automobile industries.

These findings are being disclosed on Sunday and over the next several days with the publication of the results of an investigation conducted by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and more than 100 other media organizations.

The database of 11.5 million documents and correspondences that has come into the hands of the ICIJ reveals how a global industry of law firms and large banks sell financial secrecy services to politicians, crooks and drug dealers as well as billionaires, celebrities and sports stars.

The investigation began after Süddeutsche Zeitung journalists obtained millions of documents from a secret source and shared them with the ICIJ and other media partners.

The media organizations involved in this collaboration have not paid for the documents. For many months journalists working in more than 25 languages cooperated in the biggest journalistic investigation of all time.

They delved into the internal operations of Mossack Fonseca and traced its clients’ secret deals worldwide.

They shared information with each other and chased down clues with the help of corporate documents, title deeds, financial transactions, court records and interviews with money-laundering experts and top law-enforcement officials.

Forty years of tax havens

Mossack Fonseca is one of the leading firms in the creation of shell companies that often serve to conceal ownership of assets.

The firm’s internal documents contain information concerning 214,488 bodies in tax havens, which are connected to persons in more than 200 states and territories.

ICIJ will publish a complete list of the companies and the individuals connected to them at the beginning of May.

The information includes emails, financial balance sheets and data on companies that reveal the secret owners of bank accounts and companies in 21 tax shelters from Nevada to Singapore to the British Virgin Islands.

The leaked information covers a span of nearly 40 years, from 1977 until the end of 2015. It provides a first look of its kind into the world of tax havens. Innumerable email exchanges, letters and passport photocopies document how day after day, decade after decade, wealth flowed to these companies through the pipelines of the global financial system.

The documents clearly show that large banks are the main impelling force behind the establishment of companies whose ownership is virtually untraceable in the British Virgin Islands, Panama and other tax havens.

The materials detail more than 15,300 companies that banks have established for clients wishing to conceal their financial conduct, among them hundreds of companies established by the international giants UBS and HSBC.

Israeli banks, too, appear in the files. It turns out that Bank Hapoalim managed some of its trusteeship activities for trust funds through the law firm.

This activity, carried out by means of the subsidiary Poalim Trust Services, closed down in 2011. The documents also contains many correspondences concerning Bank Leumi activity in Jersey in the Channel Islands.

Most of the services provided by the tax haven industry are legal strictly speaking, according the letter of the law. However, the documents show that banks, law firms and others involved in tax havens have not always been strict about conforming to the legal requirements that aim to ensure that clients are not involved in criminal activity, are not evading tax payments and are not involved in political corruption.

In a number of cases, the documents show that intermediaries in the tax havens took measures to protect themselves and their clients by means of concealing suspicious fund transfers or making changes in the records. Sometimes this was done while encouraging crime and evading taxes.

A number of heads of states who have declared war on corruption star in the leaked documents.

The investigation found companies registered in tax havens that are connected to the family of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who swore to combat “the armies of corruption,” as well as to the president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, who sees himself as a reformer in a country that is rife with corruption.

The documents also contain new information about transactions in tax shelters carried out by the late father of British Prime Minister David Cameron, a leader in the initiative to tackle the issue of tax havens.

The documents include information about one person convicted of money laundering and organizing illegal election donations of $50,000 which were then used to pay the burglars in the Watergate affair.

They also contain the names of 29 of the billionaires on Forbes Magazine’s list of the 500 Richest People in the World, among them the Israeli Idan Ofer.

Film star Jackie Chan, who is also on the Forbes list, owns at least six companies managed by the law firm. As is the case for many Mossack Fonseca clients, there is no evidence of illegal actions taken by Chan through these companies.

Owning a company registered in a tax haven is not illegal. Sometimes, for purposes of international financial transactions, this is a reasonable business decision. However, the Mossack Fonseca documents show that among its clients were Ponzi scheme initiators, drug lords, tax evaders and at least one convicted sex offender: An American businessman convicted of traveling to Russia to have sexual relations with orphaned minors signed documents as the director of a company registered in a tax haven while serving his prison sentence in New Jersey.

The documents also reveal new information about publicized scandals, from the largest gold heist in the history of Britain to accusations of corruption connected to FIFA, the international soccer association.

The leaked documents show that the Uruguayan law firm of FIFA ethics committee member Juan Pedro Damiani had business ties to three men who have been convicted in the FIFA corruption case: former FIFA vice president Eugenio Figueredo and father and son Hugo and Mariano Jinkis. The latter two were convicted of paying bribes to obtain broadcast rights for soccer matches in South America. Documents show that Damiani’s law firm represented a company registered to Jinkis and seven others registered to Figueredo in a tax haven.

The name of the best soccer player in the world, Lionel Messi, also appears in the documents. A company in Panama called Mega Star Enterprises, Inc., which was established in 2012 by Mossack Fonseca, adds another name to the list of shelf companies connected to Messi that are currently under investigation by the Spanish authorities on suspicion of tax evasion.

Mossack Fonseca aggressively protects the confidentiality of their clients, be they famous or unknown. The files show that in Nevada, the firm tried to protect itself and its clients from the outcome of a legal suit by recruiting computer experts to erase evidence from the telephones and computers of its Las Vegas branch employees.

The leaked files show that the firm submitted backdated documents in order to help its clients profit from their financial transactions. This practice was so common that email exchanges from 2007 show that the firm’s employees discussed preparing a price list — for every month that a document was backdated, clients would pay $8.75.

In reply to ICIJ questions about these methods, Mossack Fonseca replied that backdating of documents “is a well-founded and accepted practice” that is “common in our industry and its aim is not to cover up or hide unlawful acts.” The company noted that it would not be able to answer questions about specific instances because of its obligation to maintain client privacy.

In a recent interview on Panamanian television, Ramon Fonseca, the founder of the law firm, said that his company is not responsible for what clients do in the businesses it helps them register in tax shelters. He compared his firm to “an automobile factory, which is no longer responsible once the car has been produced.” Blaming Mossack Fonseca for what people do with their companies, he said, would be like blaming the manufacturer “if a car it made was used for purposes of robbery.”

Not everyone agrees with him. “The findings show how deeply crime and illegal conduct are entrenched in the world of tax havens,” says economist Gabriel Zucman of the University of California at Berkeley, the author of the book “The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens.” Zucman, who participated in the ICIJ investigation, says that the publication of the leaked documents should encourage governments to impose “concrete sanctions” on countries where such firms are registered and on institutions that provide confidentiality for companies using tax havens.

3 replies
  1. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    בהדלפת המידע הכלכלי הגדולה ביותר בהיסטוריה, חושפים הלילה (יום א’) כלי תקשורת ברחבי העולם את הדרכים העקלקלות והסודיות שבהן צברו כמה מעשירי תבל וידועניה את הונם – בהם החוג הקרוב של נשיא רוסיה, ולדימיר פוטין.

    ב-11 מיליון מסמכים שדלפו מהמאגר של חברת עורכי הדין Mossack Fonseca בפנמה, מהחברות הגדולות בעולם בתחומה, נחשפות עסקאות סודיות והלוואות עתק בשווי של שני מיליארד דולר שהפכו את מקורביו של פוטין לעשירים בקנה מידה בלתי נתפש. המסמכים חושפים בין השאר חשד להלבנת הון בשווי מיליארד דולר על-ידי רשת שהפעיל “בנק רוסיה”, ושכללה מקורבים לפוטין.

    ההדלפה חושפת גם את נכסיהם הסודיים של 12 מנהיגים מכהנים ושל פוליטיקאים אחרים ואישים מפורסמים. בין המנהיגים והאישים שנכסיהם הלא-מוצהרים נחשפו, גם רבים כאלה שהבטיחו להילחם בשחיתות בארצם.

    שמו של פוטין עצמו לא מופיע במסמכים, אבל לפי העיתון הבריטי “גרדיאן”, שהוא אחד העיתונים שפרסמו את החומר הלילה, עולה מהם שחבריו של נשיא רוסיה הרוויחו מיליונים מעסקאות שכנראה לא יכלו להיעשות ללא הסכמתו.

    לפי BBC, חברת Mossack Fonseca עזרה ללקוחותיה להלבין כספים, לחמוק מסנקציות ולהעלים מסים. “בנק רוסיה”, למשל, הוא בנק רוסי הנתון לסנקציות מצד ארה”ב והאיחוד האירופי, בשל סיפוח חצי האי קרים באוקראינה על-ידי מוסקבה לפני שנתיים.

    המסמכים מתארים כיצד כסף רוסי הועבר דרך חברות הנמצאות מעבר לים, ששתיהן בבעלות אחד החברים הקרובים ביותר של פוטין – סרגיי רולדוגין. רולדוגין ופוטין הם חברים מאז שהיו נערים, ורולדוגין אף הכיר לפוטין את אשתו לודמילה (שממנה התגרש בינתיים) והיה הסנדק של בתו מריה. מהמסמכים עולה כי הוא הרוויח מאות מיליוני דולרים מעסקאות מפוקפקות.

    ב”גרדיאן” מדווחים שלפי המסמכים נתיב המיליארדים של פוטין מתחיל בפנמה, עובר דרך רוסיה, שוויץ וקפריסין, וכולל גם אתר סקי
    שבו נישאה בתו הצעירה של פוטין, יקטרינה, לפני שלוש שנים. לפי המסמכים חברו רולדוגין צבר הון אדיר, אחרי שניתנה לו שליטה לכאורה בשורה של נכסים בשווי של לפחות 100 מיליון דולר.

    המסמכים קושרים לעסקאות ופעולות כספיות מפוקפקות גם 72 ראשי מדינות בעבר ובהווה, כולל רודנים כמו חוסני מובארק, מועמר קדאפי ובשאר אסד. במסמכים נחשפים בין השאר קשריהם העסקיים הסודיים ונכסיהם הבלתי מוצהרים של נשיא ארגנטינה מאוריסיו מקרי, ראש ממשלת עיראק לשעבר איאד עלווי, ראש ממשלת איסלנד, מלך סעודיה, נשיא אוקראינה, ראש ממשלת פקיסטן, בני דודיו של נשיא סוריה אסד, בנו של מזכ”ל האו”ם לשעבר קופי אנאן, עלא מובארק בנו של נשיא מצרים המודח חוסני מובארק ואביו של ראש ממשלת בריטניה דיוויד קמרון.

    במסמכים מוזכר גם חבר בוועדת האתיקה של התאחדות הכדורגל העולמית פיפ”א – גוף רב עוצמה שאמור לערוך רפורמות
    בפיפ”א בעקבות השחיתות שפשתה בה במרוצת השנים.

    עוד עולה מהמסמכים כי המשפחות של לפחות שמונה מחברי גוף ההנהגה העליון של סין, הפוליטבורו, מחזיקות בחשאי נכסים בחו”ל, וכך עושים גם 23 אנשים שמוטלות עליהם סנקציות בגלל קשריהם למשטרים בצפון קוריאה, זימבבווה, רוסיה, איראן וסוריה. הם היו בין לקוחותיה של חברת עורכי הדין הענקית.

    לחשיפת המסמכים אחראי העיתון הגרמני Sueddeutsche Zeitung, ששיתף אותו עם יותר מ-100 כלי תקשורת נוספים ברחבי העולם.

  2. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    An unprecedented leak of documents shows how this money has made members of Putin’s close circle fabulously wealthy.

    Though the president’s name does not appear in any of the records, the data reveals a pattern – his friends have earned millions from deals that seemingly could not have been secured without his patronage.

    The documents suggest Putin’s family has benefited from this money – his friends’ fortunes appear his to spend.

    The files are part of an unprecedented leak of millions of papers from the database of Mossack Fonseca, the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm. They show how the rich and powerful are able to exploit secret offshore tax regimes in myriad ways.

    The offshore trail starts in Panama, darts through Russia, Switzerland and Cyprus – and includes a private ski resort where Putin’s younger daughter, Katerina, got married in 2013.

    The Panama Papers shine a particular spotlight on Sergei Roldugin, who is Putin’s best friend. Roldugin introduced Putin to the woman he subsequently married, Lyudmila, and is godfather to Putin’s older daughter, Maria.

    A professional musician, he has apparently accumulated a fortune – having been placed in ostensible control of a series of assets worth at least $100m, possibly more.

    Roldugin appears to have been picked for this role because of his lesser profile. He has denied in documents to bank officials in Switzerland and Luxembourg that he is close to any Russian public figures. He has also said he is not a businessman.

    Yet the files reveal Putin’s longstanding intimate has a 12.5% stake in Russia’s biggest TV advertising agency, Video International, which has annual revenues of more than £800m. Previously, its ownership was a closely guarded secret.

    Roldugin was also secretly given an option to buy a minority stake in the Russian truck manufacturer Kamaz, which makes army vehicles, and has 15% of a Cyprus-registered company called Raytar.

    He also owns 3.2% of Bank Rossiya. The St Petersburg private bank has been described as Putin’s “crony bank”. The US imposed sanctions on it after Russia’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine.

    These assets are only part of a series of linked financial schemes revealed in the documents that revolve round Bank Rossiya.

    The bank is headed by Yuri Kovalchuk. The US alleges he is the “personal banker” for many senior Russian government officials including Putin. The Panama Papers disclose that Kovalchuk and Bank Rossiya achieved the transfer of at least $1bn to a specially created offshore entity called Sandalwood Continental.

    These funds came from a series of enormous unsecured loans from the state-controlled Russian Commercial Bank (RCB) located in Cyprus and other state banks. There is no explanation in the files of why the banks agreed to extend such unorthodox credit lines.

    Some of the cash obtained from RCB was also lent back onshore in Russia at extremely high interest rates, with the resulting profits siphoned off to secret Swiss accounts.

    A $6m yacht was purchased by Sandalwood and shipped to a port near St Petersburg.

    Cash was also handed over directly to the Putin circle, this time in the form of very cheap loans, made with no security and with interest rates as low as 1%. It is not clear whether any loans have been repaid.

    In 2010 and 2011, Sandalwood made three loans worth $11.3m to an offshore company called Ozon, which owns the upmarket Igora ski resort in the Leningrad region. Ozon belongs to Kovalchuk and a Cypriot company. Putin is the resort’s star patron and a reputed resident.

    Eighteen months after the loans, the president used Igora as the venue for the wedding of Katerina. Her groom was Kirill Shamalov, the son of another of Putin’s old St Petersburg friends. News of the ceremony, from which cameras were banished, only emerged in 2015.

    The records were obtained from an anonymous source by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with the Guardian and the BBC.

    They reveal a number of other manoeuvres by the Putin circle to move cash offshore. There is nothing inherently illegal in using offshore companies.

    The transactions, however, include apparently fake share deals, with shares “traded” retrospectively; multimillion-dollar charges for vague “consultancy” services; and repeated payments of large sums in “compensation” for allegedly cancelled share deals. In 2011 a Roldugin company buys the rights to a $200m loan for $1. “This is not business, this is creating the appearance of business in order to continually move and hide assets,” Andrew Mitchell QC, a leading authority on money-laundering, told BBC Panorama.

    Such layers of secrecy surrounded the offshore deals that Bank Rossiya staff in St Petersburg sent all their instructions to a confidential intermediary – a firm of Swiss lawyers in Zurich.

    The Swiss lawyers in turn arranged for Mossack Fonseca to set up shell companies, typically registering them in the secretive British Virgin Islands, with sham nominee directors from Panama to sign approvals for the deals. Even Mossack’s confidential records of true owners have frequently turned out to be further fronts.

    Speculation over the size of Putin’s personal fortune has gone on for almost a decade, following reports in 2007 that he was worth at least $40bn, based on leaks from inside his own presidential administration.

    In 2010, US diplomatic cables suggested Putin held his wealth via proxies. The president formally owned nothing, they added, but was able to draw on the wealth of his friends, who now control practically all of Russia’s oil and gas production and industrial resources.

    In 2014, after Russia seized Crimea, the White House imposed sanctions on leading members of Putin’s circle, including Kovalchuk, citing their close ties to “a senior official of the Russian Federation” – a euphemism for Putin himself. The Panama Papers reveal that the Putin group appeared to have become nervous for unclear reasons after October 2012. Sandalwood was closed down and its operations switched to another offshore entity registered in the BVI, called Ove Financial Corp.

    One of the companies linked to Ove Financial Corp belonged to Mikhail Lesin, Putin’s media tsar and former press minister. Lesin founded the Kremlin’s propaganda TV channel Russia Today but later fell out of favour. He was mysteriously found dead last November in a Washington hotel room with blunt force injuries to the head.

    Asked about the offshore companies linked to him last week, Rodulgin said: “Guys, to be honest I am not ready to give comments now … These are delicate issues. I was connected to this business a long time ago. Before ‘perestroika’. It happened … And then it started growing and such things happened. The House of Music [in St Petersburg] is subsidised from this money.”

    Roldugin declined to answer further written questions.

    The Putin circle’s use of offshore companies contrasts with the president’s call for “deoffshoreisation”, urging Russians to bring cash hidden abroad home. Others who make use of offshore companies include oil trader Gennady Timchenko, Putin’s friend of 30 years. The US imposed sanctions on him in 2014. Others in the data are Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, Putin’s childhood friends and former judo partners. They are now billionaire construction tycoons. The Arsenal FC shareholder Alisher Usmanov also appears. He has at least six companies registered in the Isle of Man. There is no suggestion this is illegal.

    Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s official spokesman, declined to comment on specific allegations against the president. Speaking last week, Peskov said western spy agencies were behind an all-out “information attack” against him to destabilise Russia before elections. Peskov dismissed the investigation by the Guardian and others as an “undisguised, paid-for hack job”. He said Russia had “legal means” to defend Putin’s dignity and honour.

    RCB Cyprus said it could not disclose information about its clients. It said that in October 2013 it had “refined its strategy”. It had opened a branch in Luxembourg, received a new investor, and was now under direct European Central Bank supervision. Given this, it was “utterly unfounded” to suggest the bank was a “pocket” for top Russian officials. The bank said it had voluntarily submitted the allegations to Cyprus’s money-laundering authority. The auditor PwC Cyprus said it had audited RCB’s accounts but that it did not provide services to Sandalwood.

    Lawyers for Kovalchuk said information about Bank Rossiya was publicly available. “We do not understand why you address these questions to Mr Kovalchuk.”

    US political scientist Karen Dawisha said it was inconceivable that Putin’s friends had become rich without his patronage. “He takes what he wants. When you are president of Russia, you don’t need a written contract. You are the law.”

  3. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    The release of a vast trove of documents and data on offshore financial dealings of wealthy, famous and powerful people around the world is raising questions over the widespread use of such tactics to avoid taxes and skirt financial oversight.

    Reports by an international coalition of media outlets on an investigation with the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists brought to light details of offshore assets and services of politicians, businesses and celebrities, based on a cache of 11.5 million records.

    Among the countries with past or present political figures named in the reports are Iceland, Ukraine, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Argentina.

    Several hundred Israeli companies are mentioned in the leaked documents, as well as several notable individuals. These include famous attorneys Jacob Weinroth and Dov Weissglass, and businessmen such as Idan Ofer, Udi Angel, and Teddy Sagi – all of whom are listed as people who have run or owned – or who still run or own – companies in places considered to be tax havens.

    Vladimir Putin’s spokesman claimed that the Russian President was the “main target” of the investigation, which he suggested was the result of “Putinophobia” and aimed at smearing the country in a parliamentary election year. The ICIJ has links to the US government, Dmitry Peskov suggested.

    “I don’t consider it possible to go into the details” of allegations that Putin’s friends ran an offshore scheme, Peskov told reporters, “mainly because there is nothing concrete and nothing new about Putin, and a lack of details.” He added that Sergei Rodulgin, a St. Petersburg-based cellist allegedly involved in the offshore schemes, was a friend of Putin’s but that the president “has very many friends.”

    Peskov, who had last week foreshadowed the disclosure of the documents by warning of an upcoming “information attack” on Putin, said Monday he expected more reports to follow.

    In Russia, where the investigation was published by independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, the scandal faced an effective coverage ban. Russian television on Monday morning made no mention of it.

    In Australia, the tax agency said Monday it was investigating more than 800 wealthy people for possible tax evasion linked to their alleged dealings with Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm with international offices that provide offshore financial services.

    The Australian Tax Office said in a statement that it had linked more than 120 of those people to an offshore services provider in Hong Kong, but did not name the company.

    In New Zealand, Prime Minister John Key rejected ICIJ’s characterization of his country as among 21 tax havens used by Mossack Fonseca.

    “Tax havens are where there is nondisclosure of information,” Key said. “New Zealand has full disclosure of information.”

    Ramon Fonseca, a co-founder of Mossack Fonseca — one of the world’s largest creators of shell companies — confirmed to Panama’s Channel 2 television network that documents investigated by the ICIJ were authentic and had been obtained illegally by hackers.

    But he said most people named in the reports were not his firm’s direct clients but were accounts set up by intermediaries. He said the firm did not engage in any wrongdoing.

    Businessmen, criminals, celebrities and sports stars — the ICIJ said the documents involve 214,488 companies and 14,153 clients of Mossack Fonseca. The nonprofit group said it would release the full list of companies and people linked to them early next month.

    The Munich-based German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung said it was offered the data more than a year ago through an encrypted channel by an anonymous source. The source sought unspecified security measures but no compensation, said Bastian Obermayer, a reporter for the paper.

    The documents provided to Suddeutsche Zeitung, amounting to about 2.6 terabytes of data, included emails, financial spreadsheets, passports and corporate records detailing how powerful figures used banks, law firms and offshore shell companies to hide their assets. The data dated from 1977 through the end of 2015, it said.

    The newspaper and its partners verified the authenticity of the data by comparing it to public registers, witness testimony and court rulings, he told the AP. A previous cache of Mossack Fonseca documents obtained by German authorities was also used to verify the new material, Obermayer added.

    “It allows a never-before-seen view inside the offshore world — providing a day-to-day, decade-by-decade look at how dark money flows through the global financial system, breeding crime and stripping national treasuries of tax revenues,” the ICIJ said.

    Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela issued a statement saying his government had “zero tolerance” for illicit financial activities and would cooperate “vigorously” with any judicial investigation arising from the leak of the law firm’s documents.

    The Guardian newspaper, which participated in the investigation, published a video on its website late Sunday of an interview with Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson. During the interview with Sweden’s SVT television, the prime minister is asked about a company called Wintris. He responds by insisting that its affairs are above board and calling the question “completely inappropriate,” before breaking off the interview.

    The office of Argentine President Mauricio Macri confirmed a report by La Nacion newspaper that a business group owned by Macri’s family had set up Fleg Trading Ltd. in the Bahamas. But it said Macri himself had no shares in Fleg and never received income from it.

    Mexico’s tax office said it would check on any Mexican resident or company mentioned in reports on the leaked documents.

    According to the ICIJ’s website, banks including HSBC, UBS, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank have worked with Mossack Fonseca to create offshore accounts.

    “The allegations are historical, in some cases dating back 20 years, predating our significant, well-publicized reforms implemented over the last few years,” HSBC spokesman Rob Sherman said in an email.

    UBS said it “conducts its business in full compliance with applicable law and regulations. We have no interest in funds that are not taxed or derive from unlawful activities.”

    Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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