As Mossack Fonseca representatives like to say, just about every time the subject is raised, the only person or entity in the “Panama Papers” story who is unquestionably guilty of a crime is the anonymous individual who stole their data.
AFP reports the law firm is putting some muscle behind those words, by filing a lawsuit against the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
“The Consortium has forced us to start aggressive legal action to protect ourselves from acts such as these, which, since they are crimes, must be taken to the proper bodies for due process,” said the company, noting that it told ICIJ to cease and desist before the huge Panama Papers database was made public.
Mossack Fonseca describes the information posted by ICIJ as “stolen, and in some cases false,” warning that the leaked data can lead to “misguided speculation about facts taken entirely out of context.”
As of Monday, a sizable Panama Papers database is online in a searchable format, with some especially sensitive information redacted. The full data trove is said to contain over 11.5 million documents, totaling over 2.5 terabytes in size. The ICIJ online database names over 360,000 people and companies who used Mossack Fonseca to establish shell companies. This establishment of this searchable database is evidently the event that prompted the lawsuit.
Russia’s RT.com quotes Mossack Fonseca, saying it was “forced into legal action after ICIJ avoided communications seeking to resolve the issue.”
While the anonymous leaker of the Panama Papers worries that global media have not been sufficiently aggressive in pursuing the story, it still has a bit of momentum, as new names pop out of that data trove. Among those names are Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, “Harry Potter” actress Emma Watson, and a number of prominent Tunisian politicians, all of whom maintain they did nothing wrong by using the Panamanian firm to set up shell corporations.
In Tunisia, there was also some drama, as former President Moncef Marzouki complained that he was falsely named as a Mossack Fonseca client by a website that appears to have been hacked.