Panama law firm says data hack was external, files complaint

Founding partner Ramon Fonseca said the firm had broken no laws and that all of its operations were legal.

Panama City: The Panamanian lawyer at the centre of a data leak scandal that has embarrassed a clutch of world leaders said on Tuesday that his firm was a victim of a hack from outside his company, and has filed a complaint with state prosecutors.

Founding partner Ramon Fonseca said the firm, Mossack Fonseca, which specializes in setting up offshore companies, had broken no laws and that all of its operations were legal. Nor had it ever destroyed any documents or ever helped anyone evade taxes or launder money, he added in an interview with Reuters.

Company emails, extracts of which were published in an investigation by the U.S.-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and other media organizations, were "taken out of context" and misinterpreted, he added.

The more than 11.5 million documents leaked from the law firm have caused public outrage over how the world`s rich and powerful are able to stash away their wealth and avoid taxes while many people suffer austerity and hardship.