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information includes e-mails, financial forms, passports and corporate records
that reveal the secret owners of bank accounts and companies in 21 offshore
jurisdictions. The filtered internal files of MF (Mossack Fonseca law firm)
contain information on 214,488 offshore entities connected to people in over 200
countries and territories.
incredible amount of information led the newspaper to resort to ICIJ, based in
Washington DC, and with previous experience in this type of project, which
developed an ad hoc team to organize and process the information. The
database was shared with a network of more than 370 journalists and 100 media
around the world.
the case of Venezuela, the investigation began in June 2015 and involved 11
journalists from different electronic media. Although a large part of the
hundreds of thousands of documents related to Venezuela do not include relevant
information, the mere review, analysis and processing of the information
entailed months of work.
is clear that organizing an offshore company itself is not a crime and it is
even natural for certain commercial transactions.
services provided by the offshore industry are legal if used by those who abide
to the law. But the documents show that banks, law firms and other offshore
players often did not meet the law requirements to make sure that their clients
are not involved in criminal activities, tax evasion or political corruption. In
some cases - as evident in the files - offshore intermediaries protected
themselves and their clients by concealing suspicious transactions or altering
the provider did verify through due diligence that a prospect was a Politically
Exposed Person (PEP) or someone suspected of criminal activities, but decided to
ignore the finding.
unusual journalistic access to the internal management of Mossack Fonseca and
its relationship with its clients made it possible to verify that provider and
client regularly scheme to mislead the regulatory authorities of their countries
of origin on the ownership of companies, and subsequently arrange the
registration of companies previously registered, among other practices aimed to
cover up the circulation of money that is concealed or legitimized.