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Panama firm usurped name of Red Cross to hide money

Published:Monday | April 11, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Demonstrators protest against President Mauricio Macri outside the government in Buenos Aires, Argentina An Argentine prosecutor on Thursday asked for an investigation into President Macri’s role in offshore companies, adding to the global fallout from a massive leak of documents from a Panama law firm.
A marquee on a building in Panama City, Panama, lists the Mossack Fonseca law firm, one of the leaders in setting up offshore bank accounts for the rich and powerful.


Newspapers working on the mammoth leak of offshore data said the Panamanian firm at the centre of the scandal used the name and reputation of the International Committee of the Red Cross to help obscure the origin of millions of dollars in questionable money.

There's no suggestion that the humanitarian group knew its name was used in this way. Red Cross spokeswoman Claire Kaplun said yesterday that the revelation was "extremely shocking".

France's Le Monde and Switzerland's Le Matin Dimanche said Mossack Fonseca created dummy foundations to hold shares in some 500 offshore companies. The foundations claimed beneficiaries such as the Red Cross, a manoeuvre that kept the companies' true owners anonymous, while cloaking them in an 'NGO aura.'

Mossack Fonseca didn't immediately return an email seeking comment.