Calling leaks unfair, Fonseca rues lack of 'level playing field'

Ramon Fonseca, co-founder of law firm Mossack Fonseca, said the Panama Papers would not have made it to the front pages had they occurred in the US

Panama City: Panamanians have long shrugged off their country’s chequered reputation as a financial haven. If they’re crooks, they’ve learned from the world’s wealthy nations, they like to joke. Ramon Fonseca, co-founder of law firm Mossack Fonseca has used the same logic amid the fallout from the leak of 11.5 million confidential documents.

Ramon Fonseca
Ramon Fonseca. Pic/AFP

"It’s very unfair because it’s not a level playing field," Fonseca said in an interview on Monday. "Without a doubt, if this happened to a company in Delaware, nothing would happen, but because it’s Panama, it’s on the front pages of the world’s newspapers."

Fonseca said that his country’s success in establishing itself as an offshore banking giant has bred jealousy from first-world rivals at a time of increasing competition and scrutiny of the industry in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

Meanwhile, the state prosecutor’s office in Panama has said it will launch an investigation into the revelations. "The facts described in national and international communication media publications under the term ‘Panama Papers’ will be the subject of criminal investigation," the office said in a statement on Monday.

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