Panama Papers: A new era in transparency?
Panama Papers – The Panama Papers are the most comprehensive database of offshore companies ever published.
Now the Panama-based Law Enforcement Agency (LEA) is investigating the leaks, with the Panama Papers committee saying that it has uncovered “serious evidence” of money laundering and money laundering related crimes in relation to several of the companies that have been identified.
“It is with great regret that we announce the resignation of our Chairman, Dr Daniel Espinosa, who was appointed by the Committee of Investigation (COI) on January 4, 2017,” the committee said in a statement.
The new COI chair, Daniel Espinoza, has been tasked with investigating alleged financial crimes in connection with the leaked documents.
Espinozas report was published by the New York-based investigative journalism group, WikiLeaks.
“The COI is in possession of extensive and reliable evidence that is of a criminal nature, in addition to significant amounts of material relating to other financial crimes that were committed,” it said.
“We do not know of any investigation in relation [to] the Panama papers, which have been the subject of considerable public interest.”
The COI’s initial report said that the leaks could be seen as a direct consequence of Mr Trump’s election victory.
The leak of more than 11.5 million documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca has sparked a global debate over the influence of the wealthy in politics.
The leaks are the latest in a series of leaks by Panama- based companies that, in turn, have raised concerns about corruption and the global economy.
In December, the Panama Free Press newspaper published a series by the Guardian, based on the Panama files, which claimed that the countrys top political and financial officials had been paid $15m (£9.5m) for political speeches.
The leaked documents also alleged that a number of politicians, including Mr Trump, had received money for their campaigns from the same companies.
The committee said that it had identified “several people, including the president himself, for whom we are investigating in relation with these matters”.
The Panama papers: A global crackdown The Panama-funded law firm was run by Mr Trump for more than two decades.
The revelations came after a US-based investigation found that some of Mr Manafort’s businesses were linked to the Russian intelligence agency, the GRU.
Mr Manafort has denied any wrongdoing.
“Mr Manafort’s conduct has not included any violation of any US law or rule,” a White House spokesperson said.
The report comes as the US and the EU are investigating Mr Manafort for alleged corruption, tax evasion and tax evasion related to his relationship with a Russian oligarch.
“Our investigators have been able to identify significant amounts [of] illegal income and illegal profits,” the COI said.
It said that more than 200 people have been arrested, and more than 150 companies were frozen.
In a separate development, a new US congressional committee is investigating President Donald Trump’s ties to a Russian billionaire.
The House Intelligence Committee is conducting its own investigation into Russian influence in US politics and US policy, but Mr Trump has repeatedly denied any links to the oligarch, Vladimir Putin.
Mr Trump previously claimed that he was not personally involved in the Magnitsky Act, which passed in 2016, a US law that sanctioned Russian officials for human rights abuses.
The US has accused Russia of interfering in the 2016 election by hacking emails from Democratic party operatives.
The Senate Intelligence Committee released its first report in January 2017, which said that Russia was behind the cyberattacks.