Governments Vow to Find Tax Evaders Hiding Offshore Assets
The full extent and implications from a leak of records about offshore bank accounts from a Panamanian firm are not yet clear, and more stories about them are expected in the coming days, but already governments across the world are pledging investigations or denouncing the reports as unfounded attacks.
Panama's President Juan Carlos Varela is among those publicly championing transparency, saying his government welcomes any investigation that protects its financial system from abuse.
Will Fitzgibbon, a reporter for the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists that is leading the probe of documents from law firm Mossack Fonseca, told VOA illegal or morally suspicious activities were in the minority among the 220,000 companies in the documents. But he said even with a small percentage facilitating corruption or bribery, for many advocates that is enough to scrutinize the entire offshore system.
Ramon Fonseca, one of the firm's co-founders, has strongly denied breaking any laws. He told the Associated Press that focus on the company is unfair and would not happen if it were based in the United States instead of Panama.
The Russian government denounced the disclosures, saying Monday they were mostly aimed at President Vladimir Putin and claiming former U.S. State Department and Central Intelligence Agency officials helped analyze the documents.
A report from the leak said Putin associates have funneled nearly $2 billion through offshore accounts.
Hackers Allegedly Leak Data for 50 Million Turks
Computer hackers have leaked an online database which they say contains the personal information of nearly 50 million Turkish citizens.
The information includes names, national ID numbers, addresses, birth dates and parents' names. It specifically highlights the personal data of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
The Associated Press was able to partially verify the information.
The hackers posted a message with the leak: "Who would have imagined that backwards ideologies, cronyism and rising religious extremism in Turkey would lead to a crumbling and vulnerable technical infrastructure?''
The database appears to be have been posted using servers in Romania.