El Salvador authorities raid office of ′Panama Papers′ law firm | News | DW | 09.04.2016
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El Salvador authorities raid office of 'Panama Papers' law firm

Police in El Salvador have seized computers from the local offices of the law firm Mossack Fonseca. Officials have said they were looking for evidence on Salvadorans who opened accounts through the Panama-based company.

Following suspicious behavior at the local Mossack Fonseca offices in San Salvador, authorities raided the building on Friday, prosecutors announced.

A "good amount of computer equipment was found inside the offices of Mossack Fonseca," El Salvador's state prosecutor's office wrote on its Twitter account.

Police seized 20 computers, servers and documents in an attempt to gather evidence on Salvadoran citizens who opened accounts with the company at the heart of the "Panama Papers" scandal.

Seven Mossack Fonseca employees were questioned by police but no arrests were made, Attorney General Douglas Melendez said at a press conference. He added that the building had been under surveillance and he doesn't believe any documents were removed prior to the raid.

Authorities decided to sweep the offices after hearing that the company's sign had been removed late on Thursday, raising suspicions. An employee later told police that the company was planning on moving, according to the attorney general's Twitter account.

"At this moment we cannot speak about [any] crimes; all we can do at this moment is our job," he said, adding the government would analyze all the confiscated information and examine its financial, accounting and legal aspects.

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On Wednesday, officials in El Salvador launched a probe to investigate whether or not the 33 Salvadorans named in the "Panama Papers" leak had broken any laws.

The attorney general also told reporters "we are going to raid neighboring offices because we have information there are more documents or computers. We are going to seize everything, computers or documents, that we find."

A global scandal erupted when over 11.5 million documents were leaked from Mossack Fonesca, shedding light on the shrouded world of offshore companies.

The leak revealed the financial arrangements of world leaders and prominent figures, including those linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the prime minister of Pakistan, as well as British Prime Minister David Cameron.

rs/jlw (AP, AFP, Reuters)