World

PANAMA CITY – The founders of Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the centre of the Panama Papers scandal, were arrested in Panama City on Thursday as the country’s attorney general launched a probe into their alleged connections with Brazil’s sprawling Lava Jato corruption scandal.

The arrests came hours after Panamanian prosecutors raided offices of the firm on possible corruption charges linking to a Brazilian company.

Panamanian prosecutors raided the offices of Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the center of the “Panama Papers” scandal, seeking possible links to Brazilian engineering company Odebrecht, the attorney general´s office said on Thursday.

“Raid of offices of law firm that created limited liability companies in Brazil linked to #LavaJato #PanamaPapers,” the attorney general´s office said on Twitter, without providing more details.

Juergen Mossack and Ramon Fonseca, who is also a former adviser to Panama’s president Juan Carlos Varela, were taken into custody by police in Panamian capital, Solano told Spain’s El Mundo newspaper.

The Panama Papers are an unprecedented leak of 11.5 million files from the database of the world’s fourth-biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca.

The records were obtained from an anonymous source by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

The ICIJ then shared them with a large network of international partners.

The documents showed myriad ways in which the rich exploit secretive offshore tax regimes. Twelve national leaders are among 143 politicians, their families and close associates from around the world known to have been using offshore tax havens.