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Panama Papers: Authorities raid Mossack Fonseca law firm

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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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2 Nepalis in Lhasa jail for smuggling gold

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RASUWA — Two Nepali youths are reported to be in a jail in Lhasa of China, on the charge of their involvement in gold smuggling.

Gyal Dorje Tamang of Gosaikunda Rural Municipality-5 in Rasuwa and Bikash Waiba of Hakubesi of Aamachhodongmo Rural Municipality were detained in Chinese territory by the customs department informers of the Tibet government around a month ago as they were about to enter Nepal on a truck bearing the Nepali number plate.

The Chinese side confiscated nine pieces of precious yellow metal from the two, Rasuwa District Police Office quoted the Nepal Consulate General Office in Lhasa as saying.

According to Rasuwa DPO’s Inspector of Police Dhruba Silwal, further details regarding the case are awaited.

It may be noted that the Chinese side has already started implementing the proposal floated by the Nepali side during the past border-security meetings to increase its surveillance in such illegal affairs bearing in mind increasing smuggling of gold into Nepali territory via China, as Silwal said.

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