Law Firm at Center of Panama Papers Helped Make U.S. Companies

The Panamanian law firm that is at the heart of the Panama Papers scandal helped form over 1,000 companies across the U.S. according to registration documents of state businesses.

A subsidiary of Mossack Fonseca is located in Las Vegas and is listed as being the registered agent of more than 1,025 companies incorporated over the last 15 years, many of them having since been dissolved or are not active any longer.

In recent days, the reports that have been based on the leaked documents from Mossack Fonseca, which is based in Panama, have revealed the hidden holdings offshore of powerful companies and individuals from over 200 countries and other territories.

The reports reference 12 former or current world leaders along with 128 public officials or politicians. Thus far, few Americans have had their names released, but journalists taking part in the investigation said additional revelations are on the way.

The Nevada subsidiary of Mossack Fonseca, MF Corporate Services, is near the airport in Las Vegas. Many of the businesses it helped to create follow patterns that are similar.

They all have officers listed that are based in Panama, Seychelles or the British Virgin Islands, places the European Commission has in the past labeled tax havens.

The documents for certain companies linked to the Las Vegas subsidiary list corporations as the company officers and no individuals are named.

Offshore accounts and shell companies are not illegal. However, they can be used as a means of masking the origin of certain financial transactions and their ownership.

The law firm has said previously that the reports that followed the leaked documents were a misrepresentation of the nature of its work. The firm denied that a number of people who were named were its clients.

Mossack Fonseca at times in the past has distanced itself from the subsidiary in Nevada, but a judge in the U.S. ruled back in March of 2015, that the two companies shire unity of ownership and interest and are in essence the same company.

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David Glass

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