Panama Papers report alleges tax-free New Zealand shelf companies and trusts are being used to help channel funds around the world.
The director of a Panamanian law firm that was hacked over the weekend says his firm is investigating and is absolved of responsibility for any potential illegalities associated with clients’ accounts.
PANAMA CITY, PANANA (APRIL 3, 2016) (REUTERS) – AUDIO FROM REUTERS TELEPHONE INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR OF MOSSACK FONSECA LAW FIRM, RAMON FONSECA, SAYING:
“We are a company who almost after 40 years has never been formally accused of anything. We are dedicated to doing legal structures which we then sell to intermediaries like banks or lawyers or accountants and they manage it from there and we do not have any control over that. We are not responsible for how they manage those structures however they may want to do them. We have formed more than 240,000 companies throughout our history and the vast majority of these for legitimate purposes. Of course, there are some that end up being used for illegitmate activities but that is not our responsiblity becasue we are not the ones who are managing them, we are not acting on them.”
REPORTER ASKS: “Mr. Fonseca, in various news reports that we have seen, it is being said that your information systems were hacked?”
AUDIO OF FONSECA RESPONDING TO THE QUESTION, SAYING: “(We were hacked in a) Limitedly, yes, our systems were hacked but it was only limited.”
REPORTERS ASKS: “And when did that happen?
AUDIO OF FONSECA RESPONDING TO THE QUESTION SAYING: “We have no idea, we are investigating. We have completely shutdown the system and we are now completely protected.”
REPORTERS ASKS: “Have you reached out to your clients?”
AUDIO OF FONSECA RESPONDING TO THE QUESTION SAYING: “Yes, we have reached out to all of our clients and we have advised them of this problem.”
REPORTERS ASKS: “And how have they reacted? I imagine that for you, it must be very difficult to have to confront something so delicate.”
AUDIO OF FONSECA RESPONDING TO THE QUESTION SAYING: “The reaction of the clients has been one of comprehension and understanding but, well, there has been a bit of everything.”
REPORTERS ASKS “And what’s next Mr. Fonseca?”
AUDIO OF FONSECA RESPONDING TO QUESTION SAYING: “We believe that there is an international campaign against privacy. Privacy is a sacred human right. There are people in the world who do not understand that. We definitely believe in privacy and we will continue working so that legal privacy works. If a company that we have formed finds itself in trouble and they approach us to solicit information via the appropriate channels, we immediately give out that information. And I would like to repeat, we have never been implicated in anything except by the media.”
REPORTERS ASKS: “And do you have any idea as to who could have hacked your database or what was their purpose?”
AUDIO OF FONSECA RESPONDING TO QUESTION SAYING: “We have our suspicions but we cannot comment because we do not have the evidence.”
REPORTER ASKS: “And if you are able to confirm that would you be willing to file a suit against them?”
AUDIO OF FONSECA RESPONDING TO QUESTION SAYING: “Of course yes. We are investigating.”
REPORTER ASKS: “One last question Mr. Fonseca, and it is a question that I must ask, considering the position you once held as an advisor for President (Juan Carlos ) Varela, could this have some kind of political reasoning or some form of revenge?”
AUDIO OF FONSECA RESPONDING TO QUESTION SAYING: “I cannot answer that. I resigned from that position so I could defend my firm without involving the government