April 4, 2016 / 5:38 PM / 4 years ago

U.S. Justice Dept reviewing Panama law firm reports

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department is reviewing reports about the offshore financial arrangements of global politicians and public figures based on 11.5 million leaked files from a Panamanian law firm, a department spokesman said on Monday.

Mossack Fonseca law firm sign is pictured at the Neptune House building in the British colony of Gibraltar, April 4, 2016. REUTERS/Jon Nazca

The department is determining whether the findings point to evidence of corruption and other violations of U.S. law.

“The U.S. Department of Justice takes very seriously all credible allegations of high level, foreign corruption that might have a link to the United States or the U.S. financial system,” said Peter Carr, spokesman for the Justice Department’s criminal division.

The journalists who obtained the documents have not shared them with the Justice Department or any other authorities, according to Peter Bale, the Chief Executive of the organization that coordinated the investigation, which involved more than 100 media outlets around the world.

The Justice Department “can read it like any other person in what we publish,” Bale told Reuters.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists published the investigation based on documents from the Panama-based Mossack Fonseca law firm, which specializes in creating offshore accounts.

The “Panama Papers” revealed financial arrangements of tens of thousands of rich and powerful people, including friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin, relatives of the prime ministers of Britain, Iceland and Pakistan, and the president of Ukraine.

Following the leak, the White House said on Monday the United States values greater transparency in international financial transactions, but did not offer specific comment on the reported allegations.

“In spite of some of the lack of transparency that exists in many of these transactions, there are determined experts, at both the Department of Treasury and the Department of Justice who can examine these transactions,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

Earnest said U.S. experts can determine whether the financial transactions disclosed in the documents violate U.S. sanctions or other U.S. laws.

Reporting by Roberta Rampton, Mohammad Zargham, Julia Edwards and Doina Chiacu; writing by Susan Heavey; editing by Meredith Mazzilli

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