Panama lawyer says he’s a privacy victim

by Samantha Woodhill06 Apr 2016
Ramon Fonseca, head of the Panama law firm at the centre of the massive leak of offshore financial data has denied any wrongdoing, saying his firm has fallen victim to “an international campaign against privacy”.

Fonseca said Mossack Fonseca had suffered a successful but limited hack in a phone interview with Reuters this week.

“We believe there's an international campaign against privacy,” he told Reuters.

“Privacy is a sacred human right [but] there are people in the world who do not understand that and we definitely believe in privacy and will continue working so that legal privacy can work.”

German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung received 11.5 million leaked documents and shared them with more than 100 other news outlets as well as the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Fonseca, who was a senior government official in Panama until earlier this year, said that the majority of the 240,000 companies formed by the firm were legitimate but that Mossack Fonseca isn’t responsible for the activities of the companies it incorporates.

“We're dedicated to making legal structures which we sell to intermediaries such as banks, lawyers, accountants and trusts, and they have their end-customers that we don't know,” he said.

The Guardian in the UK said the papers revealed over $2bn worth of secret offshore deals and loans led by close friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin, but the Kremlin dismissed the report and trying to discredit the president before parliamentary elections.

“It appears that you have had unauthorized access to proprietary documents and information taken from our company and have presented and interpreted them out of context,” the law firm said in a statement published by the Guardian.

Panama’s government said in a statement that it would cooperate with any eventual judicial proceeding.