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The Latest: President says Panama will aid offshore probes

FRANKFURT – The Latest on the release of a database listing offshore companies named in the Panama Papers (all times local):

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9:45 p.m.

Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela says his country is willing to share information and co-operate with international investigations into offshore accounts following the release a new batch of the so-called Panama Papers documents.

Varela also defended his country from criticism stemming from the release earlier this year of the first trove of documents from Panamanian law firm Mossak Fonseca that exposed offshore companies of the rich and powerful.

Mossak Fonseca says hackers got into its system.

Varela told reporters: “I think we have to start talking more positively about what is happening in Panama. Panama Papers is a problem of the world financial system.”

The documents have been released by a global network of investigative journalists who have written stories about firms and people who hid money in offshore havens.

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9:10 p.m.

Investigative journalists mining the leaked data trove known as the Panama Papers say that the law firm had ties to dozens of Americans accused of financial misconduct.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists reported Monday that the activities of Panamanian firm Mosseck Fonseca included setting up offshore companies for people who had brushes with the law.

Setting up an offshore company is not illegal. But they can be used to hide money from authorities.

The ICIJ said one “longtime customer” of the firm was a U.S. financier later sentence to 17 years in prison for fraud. It said the firm set up an offshore company used by six Americans accused of running a Ponzi scheme that cost middle-class Indonesians millions.

Mossack Fonseca has said it obeyed rules on vetting customers.

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8:45 p.m.

A global network of investigative journalists has published data on more than 200,000 offshore entities that was the source of a recent string of stories about companies and individuals who hid money in tax havens.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists says publishing the data doesn’t imply that all of the persons and companies mentioned broke the law, since there are legitimate uses for offshore companies.

But the data, first obtained by German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, has already highlighted the extent to which the rich and powerful use shell companies to hide money, and led to the resignation of Iceland’s prime minister.

The data relates to clients of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which says it was hacked.

Bank accounts, phone numbers and email addresses were left out of the database published Monday at https://offshoreleaks.icij.org/ .

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4:23 p.m.

The investigative journalists who reported on a trove of data about offshore companies of the rich and powerful are making the names of 200,000 entities available in a searchable database.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists says the data from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca will be published Monday at 1800 GMT (2 p.m. ET) on its website .

They contain basic corporate information about companies, trusts and foundations in 21 jurisdictions including Hong Kong and the U.S. state of Nevada. Bank accounts, phone numbers and emails were left out.

News reports based on the data, first leaked to Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily, highlighted the use of shell companies to hide money and led to the resignation of Iceland’s prime minister. Mossack Fonseca has said it was hacked.