23 Jun 2016

Panama Papers could lead to prosecutions

10:27 pm on 23 June 2016

A police unit is examining whether Panama Papers revelations about New Zealand's role in helping people hide wealth could lead to criminal charges.

panama papers montage

panama papers montage Photo: s

The data, publicly released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in Washington DC, has led to calls for New Zealand's rules to be tightened.

In a statement, the police Financial Intelligence Unit said it was gathering all information released to determine if any action needed to be taken, including criminal charges.

The unit would also liaise with other agencies such as Inland Revenue, which was conducting its own investigation into the foreign trust regime and those involved in it.

Cabinet ministers were today due expected to receive a report from tax expert John Shewan on whether the foreign trust disclosure rules are fit for purpose.

The Panama Papers are a leak of 11.5 million files from the world's fourth-largest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca.

The documents showed how the world's rich exploited secretive offshore tax regimes, including New Zealand's.

Panama Papers NZ - Read our full coverage

*The investigation into New Zealand links in the Panama Papers is a journalistic collaboration by reporters from RNZ, One News and investigative journalist Nicky Hager, and with the assistance of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung.