By Will Fitzgibbon, Emilia Diaz-Struck
On April 7, 14 large blue letters quietly disappeared from the outer walls of an office building in an exclusive neighborhood in northern San Salvador.
Employees of the El Salvador branch of Mossack Fonseca, the Panama-headquartered law firm whose leaked files have formed the basis of thousands of news reports exposing the secrets of the offshore financial industry, claimed it was a scheduled relocation.
Salvadoran authorities suspected something else was going on.
Just the day before, they had announced an investigation into citizens who had done business with the law firm. They worried that evidence might be destroyed. So the afternoon after the signage vanished, policemen — some hooded in black balaclavas, wearing soccer jerseys and with handguns holstered at their waists — swept through Mossack Fonseca’s workplace.
Salvadoran police and the country’s General Prosecutor seized 20 computers. Authorities live-tweeted the action as officers invaded the law office.
The raid of Mossack Fonseca’s El Salvador office was one of hundreds of official reactions to Panama Papers — a mix of investigations, fines, high-profile resignations, police raids, arrests, national legal reforms and international conclaves.
Read the entire story here: Panama Papers have had historic global effects — and the impacts keep coming | Center for Public Integrity
In late July, Moussa Aksar, the director of Niger’s L’Évènement newspaper, answered his phone and heard a familiar voice warning him that he was, once again, in danger.
“Be careful,” a friendly source told Aksar. “Look out for yourself and be careful what you say on the phone.”
Aksar had just published Niger’s first exposé from the Panama Papers, the investigation based on a leak of documents from a law firm that has helped politicians, oligarchs and fraudsters create and use secrecy-veiled shell companies.
The July 25 edition of Aksar’s newspaper featured a front-page story highlighting previously unknown details regarding an offshore company linked to a businessman reputed to be a major financier of Niger’s ruling political party. Copies of the paper sold out within hours.
Many citizens were delighted by the revelations. Others took aim.