Panama Papers: Source of law firm leak breaks silence

Anonymous source behind Mossack Fonseca leak releases 1,800-word manifesto, offering help to public prosecutors.

Mossack Fonseca
Millions of leaked documents showed that 140 politicians and officials use secret 'offshore' companies to escape taxes [Alex Hofford/EPA]

The anonymous source behind the Panama Papers scandal has broken his silence for the first time, offering to make leaked documents available to public prosecutors.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung published a 1,800-word statement by the whistle-blower on Friday.

Signed with the name “John Doe”, the manifesto, entitled The Revolution Will Be Digitized, cited the need for better whistle-blower protection and hinted at more revelations to come.

The documents suggested that 140 politicians and officials from around the globe, including 72 former and current world leaders, have connections with secret offshore companies to escape tax scrutiny in their countries. 

The Suddeutsche Zeitung was offered the data more than a year ago through an encrypted channel and started publishing material last month, in what has been called the biggest information leak in history.

Panama Papers: Why should we care?

The source of the leak said in the manifesto that “a new global debate has started, which is encouraging”.

Its author said: “I do not work for any government or intelligence agency, directly or as a contractor, and I never have.”

“My viewpoint is entirely my own, as was my decision to share the documents with Suddeutsche Zeitung and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, not for any specific political purpose, but simply because I understood enough about their contents to realise the scale of the injustices they described,” the statement said.

The source also said that he was willing to cooperate with public prosecutors. 

“ICIJ and its partner publications have rightly stated that they will not provide them to law enforcement agencies. I, however, would be willing to cooperate with law enforcement to the extent that I am able.”

‘Attorney-client privilege’

Mossack Fonseca, the law firm from where the Panama Papers were leaked, said on Friday that it has issued a cease-and-desist letter to the ICIJ urging it not to release the trove of documents online. 

The firm issued the letter to the US-based consortium stressing that the information was stolen and its release would breach attorney-client privilege.

The ICIJ has announced that it will next Monday put online many – but not all – of the 11.5 million documents it obtained from the Suddeutsche Zeitung.

Panama Papers: Mammoth leaks and media collaborations

Reports done on the records since early April have revealed how the world’s wealthy, many politicians, and a few criminals used Mossack Fonseca to set up offshore entities to stash their assets.

The scandal put pressure on some politicians, notably forcing Iceland’s prime minister to resign, and prompted Europe and the United States to look at ways to crack down on offshore tax havens.

Several countries have started investigations into possible tax evasion or money laundering.

Mossack Fonseca says it committed no crimes, and states that the data was illegally obtained through a hack perpetrated using foreign servers.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies