Panamá Papers data to be released May 9

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists said Tuesday that it would release the largest-ever release of information about secret offshore companies and the people behind them, based on data from the Panamá Papers investigation. The release will be May 9, the organization said.

The searchable database will include information about more than 200,000 companies, trusts, foundations and funds incorporated in 21 tax havens, from Hong Kong to Nevada in the United States, said the organization.

The consortium is part of the The Center for Public Integrity, which calls itself nonpartisan although others characterize it as a liberal, progressive organization

The information to be released was stolen by computer hackers from a Panamá legal firm.

The impact of the Panamá Papers has been epic, said the consortium. The investigation has led to high profile resignations, including the prime minister of Iceland; triggered official inquiries in multiple countries; and put pressure on world leaders and other politicians, such as Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, to explain their connections to offshore companies, it said.

The revelations sparked a new sense of urgency among lawmakers and regulators to close loopholes and make information about the owners of shell companies public, it added.

The Mossack Fonseca law firm said that the major suspect in the leak of private papers was a foreign government.

Even though the documents have been obtained illegally, many governments, including Costa Rica, are launching investigations of the individuals and firms named as being involved with the law firm.  Mossack Fonseca specializes in setting up offshore corporations.

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