Following a massive data breach at a Panama-based law firm that a founding partner has blamed on a hack attack, government officials on Tuesday raided the headquarters of Mossack Fonseca & Co.
The attorney general’s office said they were seeking “documentation linked to the information published in news articles that establish the use of the firm in illicit activities,” reports BBC News.
It was apparently referring to news articles around the globe by journalists who received over 11 million Mossack Fonseca documents. They reported that the firm, which has insisted it did nothing wrong, helped world leaders, politicians, celebrities and others keep wealth confidential by setting up offshore shell companies for banks, accountants and other law firms to pass on to these high-profile third parties.
Although offshore companies are not illegal in and of themselves, the effort to keep wealth secret raised questions about possible tax evasion and money laundering, observers said.
Mossack Fonseca said in a Spanish-language tweet that it “continues to co-operate with authorities in investigations made at our headquarters,” the BBC reports.
The raid on the law firm was led by prosecutor Javier Caravallo, reports the Guardian. He specializes in organized crime and money laundering cases.
A day earlier, intellectual property prosecutors visited the firm to investigate its claim to have been hacked, the newspaper says.
“Finally the real criminals are being investigated,” co-founder Ramon Fonseca told the Associated Press at that time.
He reportedly has not commented on Tuesday’s raid by the attorney general’s office.