Mossack Fonseca co-founder Jurgen Mossack yesterday claimed he was surprised to learn that clients of his firm had ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the current and former members of China’s Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee.
Mossack told CNBC television in an interview that his firm does not regularly monitor the actions of companies it has helped set up for clients. Had Mossack Fonseca & Co. been aware of such connections, “normally in a case like that we would resign, we would stop dealing with that client and with that company,” he said.
It was one of a handful of interviews that Mossack and his partner Ramon Fonseca have given since the publication of the Panama Papers, an investigation into the leaked files of the firm.
Mossack said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the firm would continue forward. “We’re not going to stop the services and go plant bananas or something,” he said. “People do make mistakes. So do we, and so does our compliance department. But that is not the norm.”
One question that has been raised since the publication of the Panama Papers has been about the relative absence of rich and powerful Americans. Fonseca told the Associated Press in an interview that their law firm has only a handful of American clients, most of whom were members of Panama’s growing expatriate retirement community. It’s not out of any anti-Americanism or fear of the Internal Revenue, according to the AP.
In other developments, U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown wrote Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew seeking assurances that Treasury is investigating “any potential involvement of U.S. or U.S.-linked banks, financial services institutions, or other companies or individuals with Mossack Fonseca & Co.” They mentioned as a particular concern “whether companies or individuals involved with or utilizing the services of this firm may have facilitated money laundering or terrorist financing.