| PANAMA CITY
PANAMA CITY The head of a Panama-based law firm
at the center of a massive leak of offshore financial data on
Sunday denied any wrongdoing, and said his firm has fallen
victim to "an international campaign against privacy".
German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung said it received a
cache of 11.5 million leaked documents from the law firm's
database, and shared them with more than 100 other international
news outlets as well as the International Consortium of
Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
Ramon Fonseca, the director of Panama-based law firm Mossack
Fonseca, specialized in setting up offshore companies, said in a
telephone interview with Reuters that his firm had suffered a
successful but "limited" hack.
Fonseca, the firm's co-founder and until March a senior
government official in Panama, said his firm has formed more
than 240,000 companies, adding that the "vast majority" have
been used for "legitimate purposes."
The ICIJ report published on Sunday details billions of
dollars of shadowy financial transactions moved through numerous
Britains Guardian newspaper said the documents showed a
network of secret offshore deals and loans worth $2 billion led
to close friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Reuters
couldn't independently confirm those details.
Fonseca emphasized that the firm is not responsible for the
activities of the companies it incorporates.
"We're dedicated to making legal structures which we sell to
intermediaries such as banks, lawyers, accountants and trusts,
and they have their end-customers that we don't know," said
He said that all of the firm's clients have been notified of
"this problem," arguing that the firm has been caught up in an
international anti-privacy campaign.
"We believe there's an international campaign against
privacy. Privacy is a sacred human right (but) there are people
in the world who do not understand that and we definitely
believe in privacy and will continue working so that legal
privacy can work," he said.
The law firm said in a separate statement published by the
Guardian: "It appears that you have had unauthorized access to
proprietary documents and information taken from our company and
have presented and interpreted them out of context."
Panama's government said in a statement on Sunday that it
will cooperate with any eventual judicial proceeding relating to
the allegations in the report.