Panama raids property of law firm Mossack Fonseca, seizes shredded documents amid Panama Papers leak

Reporters and police officers gathering outside a warehouse belonging to law firm Mossack Fonseca after a raid on the property by authorities, in Panama City, Panama, on April 22, 2016. Reports state that Panamianian investigators carried out an oper
Reporters and police officers gathering outside a warehouse belonging to law firm Mossack Fonseca after a raid on the property by authorities, in Panama City, Panama, on April 22, 2016. Reports state that Panamianian investigators carried out an operation and seized shredded documents at a warehouse belonging to Mossack Fonseca, the law firm which leaked millions of documents on April 3, 2016 suggesting that 140 politicians and officials from around the globe, including 72 former and current world leaders, have connections with secret 'offshore' companies to escape tax scrutiny in their own countries.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
The Mossack Fonseca sign is pictured in Panama City, on April 4, 2016.
The Mossack Fonseca sign is pictured in Panama City, on April 4, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

PANAMA CITY (REUTERS) - Panamanian investigators on Friday (April 22) raided a property used by Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the center of a massive leak of offshore financial data, removing bags full of shredded documents as evidence, a local prosecutor said.

"We have secured a large amount of evidence found in the location," said organised crime investigator Javier Caraballo.

He said they also found many shredded papers, which they removed as evidence.

In a statement, Mossack Fonseca said it had digitized all its documents and that the shredded papers taken from its premises were bound for recycling.

The law firm added that as a result of a previous search, prosecutors already had copies of all the documents they removed on Friday.

Leaks from the Panama-based law firm, dubbed the "Panama Papers", have embarrassed several world leaders and shone a spotlight on the shadowy world of offshore companies.

Mossack Fonseca, which specializes in setting up offshore companies, has said it broke no laws, destroyed no documents, and all its operations were legal.

Governments across the world have begun investigating possible financial wrongdoing by the rich and powerful after the leak of more than 11.5 million documents from the firm.

The papers have revealed financial arrangements of prominent figures, including friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin, relatives of the prime ministers of Britain and Pakistan and of China's President Xi Jinping, and the president of Ukraine.