Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the centre of the massive leak of offshore financial data known as the ‘Panama Papers’, has denied destroying documents, claiming that bags of shredded paper seized by investigators from one of its properties contain information already collected in an earlier raid.
In a statement, the company said it had digitised all of its documents and that prosecutors already had copies of everything removed in the latest raid on Friday.
The company said it sent the documents to the warehouse on the outskirts of Panama city, in a neighbourhood less than 15 km from the headquarters of the firm, so they could be recycled, Efe news reported.
Javier Caraballo, head of the newly formed Special Prosecutor for Organised Crime, said as he left the building that investigators had found “extensive documentation” and would re-assemble the shredded papers to analyse their contents.
The headquarters of Mossack Fonseca, in the banking centre of the capital, was raided on April 12 in a search that lasted more than 27 hours but ended with no conclusive evidence to support charges.
The leaks were reported by the media around the world on April 3 and included millions of documents related to shell companies and offshore accounts set up by Mossack Fonseca for its wealthy and powerful clients.
Among those implicated in the leaks were Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, and relatives of British Prime Minister David Cameron and Chinese President Xi Jinping.