Police raid Mossack Fonseca office in El Salvador

  • 09/04/2016
El Salvador Attorney General Douglas Melendez (C) walks out of the Mossack Fonseca offices. (Reuters)
El Salvador Attorney General Douglas Melendez (C) walks out of the Mossack Fonseca offices. (Reuters)

Authorities in El Salvador have raided the local offices of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, seizing documents and equipment, the country's attorney general's office says.

The Panama-based law firm is at the centre of an international data leak scandal that has embarrassed several world leaders and shone a spotlight on the shadowy world of offshore companies.

"A large quantity of computing equipment has been found in the office of Mossack Fonseca," the attorney general's office said on Twitter, adding that the company's staff had removed their sign from the entrance a day earlier.

It cited an employee saying the company was moving.

Attorney General Douglas Melendez personally oversaw Friday's raid, his office said.

Governments across the world have begun investigating possible financial wrongdoing by the rich and powerful after the leak of more than 11.5 million documents, dubbed the "Panama Papers," from the law firm that span four decades.

The papers have revealed financial arrangements of prominent figures, including friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin, relatives of the prime ministers of Britain and Pakistan and of China President Xi Jinping, and the president of Ukraine.

Officials from Mossack Fonseca in Panama were not immediately available to comment.

Founding partner Ramon Fonseca told Reuters in Panama this week that his firm, which specialises in setting up offshore companies, had broken no laws and that all its operations were legal.

He also said his firm had never destroyed any documents or helped anyone evade taxes or launder money.