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‘Panama Papers’ Leak Reveals World Leaders’ Offshore Assets

Image: Icelandic PM Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson

Icelandic PM Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson JONATHAN NACKSTRAND / AFP – Getty Images

Iceland’s prime minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, was asked by Sweden’s SVT television about a company called Wintris. He responded by insisting that its affairs are above board and calling the question “completely inappropriate,” before breaking off the interview.

In Russia, the Kremlin last week said it was anticipating what it called an upcoming “information attack.”

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters that the Kremlin had received “a series of questions in a rude manner” from an organization that he said was trying to smear Putin, whose name did not appear in the documents.

“Journalists and members of other organizations have been actively trying to discredit Putin and this country’s leadership,” Peskov said.

The ICIJ said the documents included emails, financial spreadsheets, passports and corporate records detailing how powerful figures used banks, law firms and offshore shell companies to hide their assets. The data spanned a time frame of nearly 40 years, from 1977 through the end of 2015, it said.

Related:

Tax Authorities Probe People Named in ‘Panama Papers’

“It allows a never-before-seen view inside the offshore world — providing a day-to-day, decade-by-decade look at how dark money flows through the global financial system, breeding crime and stripping national treasuries of tax revenues,” the ICIJ said.

Meanwhile, the British government asked on Monday for a copy of leaked data so it could act on any possible tax evasion.

The leak could be embarrassing for Prime Minister David Cameron. His late father, Ian Cameron, is mentioned alongside some members of his Conservative Party in the upper house of parliament, former Conservative lawmakers and party donors, British media reported.

When contacted by Reuters, Cameron’s office declined to comment.

A U.S. Justice Department official told NBC News government lawyers are reviewing the documents for any potential violations of U.S. laws.

“We are aware of the reports and are reviewing them,” the official said. “While we cannot comment on the specifics of these alleged documents, the U.S. Department of Justice takes very seriously all credible allegations of high level, foreign corruption that might have a link to the United States or the U.S. financial system.”

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