The law firm at the heart of explosive revelations about Panama-based offshore financial dealings had clients including drug barons and entities targeted by international sanctions, a report Wednesday indicated.
Law practice Mossack Fonseca is at the centre of the scandal after its papers were obtained from an anonymous source by German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung and shared with more than 100 media groups by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
In its latest batch of reports, Sueddeutsche said that Mossack Fonseca’s client list included “drug traffickers from Mexico, Guatemala and eastern Europe” as well as people and companies hit by US and European sanctions.
“A likely financier of Hezbollah, people backing the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programmes and two alleged supporters of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe” can also be found in the firm’s files, the newspaper said without naming the presumed clients.
“At least 22 people and at least 24 companies” with whom Mossack Fonseca did business figure on lists of targets for US and European sanctions, according to the report.
Sueddeutsche said that in certain cases, the business relationship ended before the sanctions came into effect but in others continued for years, flouting punitive measures.
Four companies based in the Seychelles are currently on US sanctions lists and all four were created or administered by Mossack Fonseca, “at least for a certain time”, Sueddeutsche said.
In the British Virgin Islands, 15 such companies exist and six of them were registered or run by the Panamanian firm, the report said.