The Latest: Investigators visit Panama law firm's offices

LONDON – The Latest on the publication by a coalition of media outlets of an investigation into offshore financial dealings by the rich and famous (all times local):

1:15 a.m.

Prosecutors in Panama looking into allegations that a computer hacker was behind the leak of a trove of financial documents about tax havens have inspected the offices of the Panamanian law firm where the papers originated.

Public ministry spokeswoman Sandra Sotillo said the visit Monday at the offices of Mossack Fonseca was made by investigators from the intellectual property prosecutor’s office.

The firm filed a complaint regarding the security breach shortly before media reports appeared using the documents to detail how politicians, celebrities and companies around the globe were hiding assets.

Law firm co-founder Ramon Fonseca has said he suspects the hack originated outside Panama, possibly in Europe, but has not given any details.

Panama has said it will co-operate with any judicial investigation arising from the documents.


9:15 p.m.

Venezuela’s chief prosecutor has ordered banks to freeze the accounts of people the country is investigating in connection with leaked documents that originated with a Panama-based law firm that helps set up secretive offshore bank accounts and shell companies.

Public prosecutor Luisa Ortega told the television station Globovision Monday that the government is considering issuing arrest warrants for people named in the “Panama Papers” leak. She didn’t say who might be affected.

Venezuelans whose names have appeared in connection to the leak include a former top military officer, a former state oil company official and a security official who worked at the presidential palace during the administration of the late President Hugo Chavez.

President Nicolas Maduro asked for Ortega’s investigation last week.


5:45 p.m.

Hungary’s prime minister says authorities have set up special investigative units to review any Hungarian aspects of the recently revealed offshore accounts.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Monday in parliament that police, tax authorities and, hopefully, prosecutors will be involved in the probes.

So far, Hungarian politicians linked to the offshore companies included in the Panama Papers have been a former lawmaker from Orban’s Fidesz party and a former treasurer of the opposition Socialist Party.

Orban said that “the Hungarian aspects of the offshore deals have to be reviewed one by one.”


5:30 p.m.

Spain’s acting minister of industry, energy and tourism says he never ran or owned a Bahamian offshore company and doesn’t know why his name appeared on leaked documents identifying him as a firm director.

Jose Manuel Soria told reporters Monday that he never “had shares, nor participation, nor any position of responsibility” with the company named U.K. Lines Limited in 1992, three years before he entered politics. He said a British company with that name was a service provider for a family shipping business he used to run.

Soria spoke after the El Confidencial digital news site published a September 1992 document naming him and another man as the firm’s directors. He also said he sent a letter to Spanish prosecutors authorizing them to investigate.


3:45 p.m.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has lashed out at “deeply hurtful and profoundly untrue” claims made about his late father’s financial arrangements.

Cameron told lawmakers in the House of Commons Monday that his father set up an offshore firm for investment purposes and not to avoid tax.

He said the firm, Blairmore Holdings, was set up following “an entirely standard practice and … not to avoid tax.”

Cameron has been under pressure since his father, Ian Cameron, was identified as a client of a Panamanian law firm that specializes in helping the wealthy reduce their tax burdens.


12:55 p.m.

A Spanish digital news site has published documents showing that Spain’s acting minister of industry, energy and tourism was a director of a Bahamian offshore company in 1992, three years before he entered politics.

A September 1992 document obtained by El Confidencial names Jose Manuel Soria and another man as the directors of the company named U.K. Lines.

But another document from November 1992 says Soria’s name was submitted by mistake and asks for him to be replaced by his brother, Luis Alberto Soria.

Soria and his ministry did not immediately comment on the report published Monday.

Soria last week told reporters that people named in the massive leak of documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca that specializes in setting up offshore companies have an obligation to explain themselves quickly.

El Confidencial says the company was dissolved in March 1995. Soria was elected three months later as mayor of the city of Las Palmas in the Canary Islands.