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Panama data targets Danish tax cheats

Tax authorities in Denmark buy 'Panama Papers' evidence

Tax authorities in Denmark have paid 805,000 euros ($903,000) for evidence of tax evasion by its citizens in the so-called 'Panama Papers.' About 600 people could be implicated.

Denmark's tax administration said Thursday it had paid an anonymous source for data from the "Panama Papers," the 11.5 million leaked documents from Panamanian law firm and corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca, some dating back to the 1970s. The papers detailed financial and attorney-client information for more than 214,488 offshore entities.  

The Danish authority had exchanged encrypted messages before establishing that the data had a quality "on a  par" with previous samples," according to tax authority chief Jim Soerensen. He said the administration would now "go deeper" to see whether people identified in the documents should be investigated for tax dodging. "This will bring us closer to whether there is reason to press charges," he said.

Soerensen declined to name the source or the source's foreign location, but said 631,000 euros was paid in the recent transaction, plus 161,000 euros in taxes.

The papers were originally leaked to a German newspaper which then shared the data with a global network of investigative journalists.

This led to a series of media allegations in April about public figures, including individuals in Iceland, Spain, Argentina, Ukraine, China and Russia and alleged assets hidden in tax havens.

European Parliament opens inquiry

On Tuesday, a committee of inquiry within the European Parliament began a probe by questioning journalists from Germany's Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and the public broadcaster NDR. NDR's Julia Stein said it was alarming to see how easy it was to set up a letterbox firm to avoid taxes.

Europaparlament Werner Langen CDU Abgeordneter (Europäisches Parlament)

Journalists' probe 'very important,' according to MEP Langen

Committee chairman, German conservative parliamentarian Werner Langen described the journalists' work as a very important contribution to democracy.

The journalists said their biggest task was to ensure that the informants remained protected in secret.

Last month, Taiwan's cabinet sought to tighten the nation's law against money laundering after US authorities fined a local bank for "suspicious transactions" between the bank's New York and Panama branches.

ipj/jm (Reuters, AP, AFP)