The Department of Justice is investigating possible financial wrongdoing after a massive document leak known as the Panama Papers made public information about offshore accounts of powerful people across the globe.
“We are aware of the reports and are reviewing them,” DOJ spokesman Peter Carr said in a statement Monday. “While we cannot comment on the specifics of these alleged documents, the U.S. Department of Justice takes very seriously all credible allegations of high level, foreign corruption that might have a link to the United States or the U.S. financial system.”
An investigation into the documents by more than 100 news organizations found that the files include information about 214,000 offshore entities, including the offshore holdings of 140 politicians and public officials across the world, according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
The leaked documents come from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, which helps individuals and businesses set up anonymous offshore shell companies. It is not illegal merely to have an offshore company, but individuals and businesses can put assets into shell companies for illegal purposes such as tax evasion or money laundering.
The documents contain the names of at least 33 people and businesses that have been blacklisted by the U.S. government due to evidence of wrongdoing, the ICIJ reported.
The governments of several other countries, including France and Australia, have opened investigations as a result of the leak, Reuters reported.