The mysteries revolving the Panama Papers have become less secretive with the release of the latest batch of leaked data by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) . Over 200,000 offshore entities were made public via a searchable database, which connects dozens of Americans to companies that have been allegedly involved in financial fraud.
The ICIJ said: "Mossack Fonseca's working relationships with dozens of Americans tied to financial misconduct raises questions about how well the firm keeps its commitment to following international standards for preventing money laundering and keeping offshore companies out of the hands of criminal elements."
In the latest release, the consortium has highlighted how Mossack Fonseca allegedly set up companies for Americans, previously accused of financial misconduct, who later "went on to cook up a Ponzi scheme", which fleeced nearly $100m from thousands of middle-class Indonesians.
The latest data consists of names of the true owners of hundreds of thousands of offshore accounts, related to funds incorporated in countries across the world – including Hong Kong and the US state of Nevada, via companies, foundations and trusts. The database was made public despite ICIJ being sent a cease and desist letter from Mossack Fonseca – the Panamanian law firm from which the data was originally obtained.
The first set of data released earlier in April, saw high-profile politicians and celebrities listed as those having connections to offshore entities. Among those named were top British celebrities like Simon Cowell, Heather Mills (Paul McCartney's ex-wife) and Chelsea footballer Willian, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York and former footballer Andy Cole, the Guardian reported.
Mossack Fonseca has maintained that the data was stolen from the firm as part of an elaborate hack. However, ICIJ has stressed that the data has been released not as "data dump", but in the interest of the public. It also stressed that the data would not reveal personal details, instead it will be a "careful release of basic corporate information".
Note: All of those implicated in the ICIJ Panama Papers report have been afforded the opportunity to respond: Visit the ICIJ website to read the responses.