A police raid has been conducted in Panama, in the central offices of the law firm Mossack Fonseca, which is embroiled in the current international «Panama documents’» scandal. The firm, however, has denied any wrongdoing and insists it is the victim of a data hack and that the information is being misrepresented.
The Panama’s prosecutor general’s office stated that the aim of the raid had been «to obtain documentation linked to the information published in news articles that establish the use of the firm in illicit activities».
The firm announced on Twitter that it «continues to co-operate with authorities in investigations begin made at our headquarters», BBC wrote.
Reportedly, Documents also show Rietumu bank’s openness to service offshore companies, as mentioned by Re:Baltica investigative journalism centre and De Facto programme of TV3.
The leak of documents and correspondence of Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca and the public backlash that followed have been a source of serious problems for many of the world’s politicians, who were forced to explain their involvement in offshore schemes made public to the world.
According to Re:Baltica, there are no shocking truths to reveal about Latvian officials. Nevertheless, the leaked documents do reveal interesting details about certain officials. For example, the use of offshores in the so-called Ventspils transit wars, as well as activities of certain Latvian banks in servicing offshores.
Mossack Fonseca values accuracy, efficiency, confidentiality and personal attention to each client. Such was the slogan of the company that was mostly unknown a week ago.
Now that documents of Mossack Fonseca have been revealed to the world, it is known that this largely unknown company has been providing offshore services to certain Latvian figures – private and legal persons alike.
For example, the lawyer of the criminally accused Aivars Lembergs had recently asked the company to determine if her client’s name can be found in databases of offshore firms. This is not the only time Mossack Fonseca was mentioned in relation to Ventspils. Fifteen years ago, Puses Ltd, which was once an indirect co-owner of Ventspils nafta, had featured the name Annalisa Limited, a British Virgin Isles-based company, as one of its members. The foundation of this company was secured by Mossack Fonseca.
The leaked documents reveal that this ‘shelf company’ was bought by Lichtenstein-based Lopag law firm in 2001. The most interesting part took place shortly after that. Louis Oehri, head of the law firm, turned to Mossack Fonseca & Co Jersey bureau with a request to appoint ‘local directors of your choice’ to be appointed as directors of Annalisa Limited.
«The reason for that is that we currently manage two companies – one based in the British Virgin Isles and one in Lichtenstein – on behalf of our client. Each of these companies has shares in another large company. With that, directors should not be the same. In the case with Annalisa Limited, there should not be any immediate relation to Lobag,» – wrote Lopag manager, expressing disappointment that he forgot to inform Mossack Fonseca about those conditions in advance.
It should be added that Annapolis Anstalt has been among the owners of Puses Ltd since 1997. The company’s owned shared have been arrested as part of the so-called Lembergs criminal case since 2008. The prosecution believes Lembergs’ children Anrijs and Liga are the true beneficiaries of this company.
Both offshore companies were represented by lawyer Janis Zelmenis during Puses Ltd meetings in Latvia. Nevertheless, he never revealed the name the ‘one client’ that the head of Lopag had in mind when requesting delegation of authorities from Annalisa. «BDO network has decided not to comment the leaked information,» – wrote Zelmenis in a text message.
Former manager of Mossack Fonseca’s office in Riga, Vladislav Borovik, was not talkative as well. During his career in the company, Mossack Fonseca would send him documents regarding offshore companies in the interest of Latvian clients.
Panama’s government promised an investigation soon after news reports emerged more than a week ago based on more than 11 million documents from the firm.