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Mossack Fonseca raided in El Salvador

BBC News BBC News 9/04/2016
Police investigators stand outside the Mossack Fonseca offices in San Salvador, El Salvador April 8, 2016 © Reuters Police investigators stand outside the Mossack Fonseca offices in San Salvador, El Salvador April 8, 2016

Authorities in El Salvador have raided the offices of the Panama law firm at the centre of a massive data leak, the attorney general's office says.

Police investigators stand inside the Mossack Fonseca offices in San Salvador, El Salvador April 8, 2016: Investigators seized documents and computer equipment © Reuters Investigators seized documents and computer equipment

Documents and computer equipment were seized from the Mossack Fonseca office, officials said on Twitter.

The attorney general's office said the Mossack Fonseca sign had been removed a day earlier and quoted an employee as saying the firm was moving.

The leak showed how some wealthy people use offshore companies to evade tax.

The raid was overseen by El Salvador's Attorney General Douglas Melendez.

More on the Panama Papers

Ten things we have learned

Who's been caught in the scandal?

Tax havens and the new politics

BBC reporters on global reaction

Major banks' denials

How assets are hidden and taxes dodged

Mossack Fonseca's El Salvador branch was able to provide "back office" functions for the firm's clients all over the world, according to a document posted on Twitter by the attorney general's office.

Local news website El Faro reported (in Spanish) that Salvadoreans had used Mossack Fonseca to buy property in the country without declaring the purchases to the Salvadorean authorities.

The firm has denied it has done anything wrong and says the information is being presented out of context.

Elsewhere:

An investigation has begun in Argentina after it transpired President Mauricio Macri was mentioned in the Panama Papers

UK Prime Minister David Cameron is accused of "hypocrisy" by the opposition Labour Party after he said he had owned shares in an offshore fund set up by his late father

Thailand's Anti-Money Laundering Office says it is investigating 16 people, including current and former politicians and well-known business people, whose names appeared in the papers

Russian President Vladimir Putin denies having any links to offshore accounts, despite not being named directly in the papers, and claimed the leak was part of a US-led plot to weaken Russia

A number of Congo-Brazzaville officials close to the country's president, Denis Sassou Nguesso, are linked to offshore firms trading in Congolese oil, France's Le Monde reports

Panama Papers - tax havens of the rich and powerful exposed

Eleven million documents held by the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca have been passed to German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, which then shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. BBC Panorama and UK newspaper The Guardian are among 107 media organisations in 76 countries which have been analysing the documents. The BBC does not know the identity of the source

They show how the company has helped clients launder money, dodge sanctions and evade tax

Mossack Fonseca says it has operated beyond reproach for 40 years and never been accused or charged with criminal wrongdoing

Tricks of the trade: How assets are hidden and taxes evaded

Panama Papers: Full coverage; follow reaction on Twitter using #PanamaPapers; in the BBC News app, follow the tag "Panama Papers"

Watch Panorama on the BBC iPlayer (UK viewers only) or on the BBC World News channel on 9 April at 01:30 GMT (except in North America) and at 08:30 GMT, and on 10 April at 14:30 GMT and 20:30 GMT.

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