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Panama Papers: Authorities raid Mossack Fonseca law firm

Gorkha Post

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PANAMA CITY — Police have raided the headquarters of the Panamanian law firm whose leaked Panama Papers revealed how the world’s wealthy and powerful used offshore companies to stash assets.

Police with an organised crime unit carried out the raid at Mossack Fonseca “with no incident or interference”, prosecutors said in a statement, adding that searches would take place at the firm’s Panama City headquarters and its branches.

Police officers and patrol cars began gathering around the company’s building on Tuesday afternoon under the command of prosecutor Javier Caravallo, who specialises in organised crime and money laundering.

Mossack Fonseca, which specialises in setting up offshore companies, did not respond to requests for comment.

Earlier, founding partner Ramon Fonseca said the company had broken no laws, destroyed no documents, and all its operations were legal.

The Panama Papers, centred on a huge cache of documents pilfered digitally from the Mossack Fonseca, have had repercussions around the world.

Iceland’s Prime Minister was forced to resign after his name appeared as one of the beneficiaries of an offshore company.

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron has had to disclose his tax records.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has sought to divert attention from his entourage by claiming it is all a US plot against him.

China has been censoring online forums and media to try to prevent the names of relatives close to the leadership from circulating.

And wealthy citizens in Australia, France, India, Mexico, Peru, Spain and elsewhere face probes over suspected tax avoidance after their names figured in some of the 11.5 million documents.

AFP

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Magnitude 8.2 quake rattles Fiji

Thompson Reuters

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A massive quake of magnitude 8.2 struck in the Pacific Ocean close to Fiji and Tonga on Sunday but it was so deep that it was not expected to cause any damage, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

The US Tsunami Warning Center also said the quake was too deep to cause a tsunami.

The quake was 347.7 miles (560 km) below the Earth which would have dampened the shaking at the surface.

“I would not expect any damage. People will feel it but it’s so deep that I would not expect any damage,” USGS geophysicist Jana Pursley said by telephone.

The quake was initially reported as a magnitude 8.0 and then upgraded to 8.2, a magnitude that could cause tremendous damage had it not been so deep.

The epicenter was located 167 miles (270 km) east of Levuka in Fiji and 275 miles (443 km) west of Neiafu in Tonga.

The area is located on the earthquake-prone Ring of Fire.

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