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Panama Papers

Member: Nifa

The so-called ‘Panama Papers’ scandal has led to authorities all over the world setting forensic investigations in motion to see whether leaked papers contain any evidence of wrongdoing. Countries from Germany to Colombia have been spurred into action following the leak of millions of confidential documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca on how tax havens are used to hide wealth.

The documents show how the firm helped some clients to launder money, dodge sanctions and avoid tax, although the company claims it has operated beyond reproach for 40 years and has never been charged with criminal wrongdoing.

However, the reach is global, with the documents featuring 12 current or former heads of state and at least 60 people linked to current world leaders, such as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. 

Meanwhile, the US Justice Department has said it is reviewing the documents for evidence of corruption or violations of US law, while Romania's national tax authority has set up a working group to examine the data published by investigative journalists on offshore accounts and firms held by Romanians.

Its National Agency of Fiscal Management said that anti-fraud inspectors, tax inspectors and investigators specialised in checking people's assets and financial information would be part of the interdepartmental group. Funds have been made available for the group to examine information about companies and business people and correlate it with existing data about foreign and domestic bank accounts, shares and transactions.

In such cases forensic accountants are expert at finding out what has happened with any money trail and will be able to confirm to the authorities whether or not malpractice has occurred. Based on the evidence so far, it looks as though the profession worldwide will be kept busy for many months to come.

For advice on how Milsted Langdon’s forensic accountants can assist you, please contact us today.

Author: Roger Isaacs, 8 April 2016

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