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Huge leak reveals extent of offshore tax evasion

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An unprecedented leak of 11 million documents has revealed how the world’s elite use tax havens to hide their wealth.

The BBC reports the raft of confidential documents was leaked from one of the world’s biggest offshore law firm Mossack Fonseca, which is based in Panama.

They are said to show how Mossack Fonseca has helped clients launder money, dodge sanctions and evade tax.

The company says it has operated beyond reproach for 40 years and has never been charged with criminal wrongdoing.

The documents show links to 72 current or former heads of state in the data, and also reveal a suspected billion-dollar money laundering ring involving close associates of President Putin.

International Consortium of Investigative Journalists director Gerard Ryle says the documents covered Mossack Fonseca’s day-to-day operations over the past 40 years.

He said: “The leak will prove to be probably the biggest blow the offshore world has ever taken because of the extent of the documents.”

In a statement to the BBC Mossack Fonseca said: “Your allegations that we provide structures supposedly designed to hide the identity of the real owners, are completely unsupported and false.

“We do not provide beneficiary services to deceive banks. It is difficult, not to say impossible, not to provide banks with the identity of final beneficiaries and the origin of funds.”

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