Almost 3,500 individuals and companies in the Panama Papers are probable matches for suspected criminals including terrorists, cybercriminals and cigarette smugglers, according to a document seen by the Guardian.
The analysis, which was carried out by Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, sheds more light on the breadth of criminal behaviour facilitated by tax havens around the world.
“The main point here is that we can link companies from the Panama Papers leaks not only with economic crimes, like money laundering or VAT carousels, but also with terrorism and Russian organised crime groups,” Simon Riondet, head of financial intelligence at Europol, told a committee of MEPs.
The Panama Papers, leaked files from the offshore services company Mossack Fonseca, revealed that hundreds of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful individuals had used offshore companies to hide their riches.
While the use of offshore structures is legal, critics have long alleged that they can also be used to facilitate improper or unlawful behaviour. (more...)