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US launches criminal investigation into Panama Papers claims

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Crusading Manhattan attorney to look into revelations contained within the Panama Papers

The “crusading” US attorney for Manhattan has launched a criminal investigation into possible international tax avoidance that may have been revealed by the Panama Papers leak.Preet Bharara, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the area including Manhattan and Wall Street, has written to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which helped break the Panama Papers story, requesting a meeting.In his letter, reprinted in the Guardian, which also helped reveal the leak of 11.5 million files from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, Mr Bharara writes: “The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has opened a criminal investigation regarding matters to which the Panama Papers are relevant.“The Office would greatly appreciate the opportunity to speak as soon as possible with any ICIJ employee or representative involved in the Panama Papers Project.”
The launch of the criminal investigation comes after President Barack Obama described global tax avoidance as “a huge problem”.Any tax avoiders who have Mr Bharara on their tail are also likely to find him an extremely dogged opponent.  
Since becoming the US attorney for Manhattan in 2009, he has charged at least 96 Wall Street executives with offences connected to insider trading.  By the end of last year, the New York Post was referring to him as “crusading” and claiming he had engaged in a “six-year battle against Wall Street.”
Source Independent

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