Panama papers law firm founders begin damage limitation

Emma Haslett
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Ramon Fonseca said the disclosure was undermining the legitimacy of offshore companies (Source: Getty)

The founders of the law firm at the centre of the Panama papers tax evasion scandal have begun damage limitation, calling the investigation a "media witch hunt".

In an interview with the Financial Times, Mossack Fonseca founder Ramon Fonseca said the disclosure was undermining legitimacy of offshore companies.

Fonseca blamed hackers, and adding that in the 40 years the company has operated, it had not been charged with wrongdoing.

He added he had been "surprised" by some of the names emerging as part of the leak, likening the leak to a car dealership.

"If you buy a car and sell it to a dealership and it sells it to a woman who kills someone - the factory isn't responsible," he said.

Panama papers: Your questions answered

The interview follows a massive leak of more than 11m files from the Panama-headquartered law firm by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which appear to identify more than 32,600 offshore companies relating to active clients in the UK.

Among those named as holding offshore companies are the likes of Vladimir Putin, the prime minister of Iceland and the late father of David Cameron.

It also emerged this morning that Fonseca and his co-founder, Jurgen Mossack, gave a four-hour interview to Bloomberg last week, when it was clear the pair knew the leak was close to emerging.

In the interview, the pair admitted: "The cat's out of the bag. Now we have to deal with the aftermath."

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