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Panama Papers: Leaked papers show how the powerful hide their wealth

The late Muammar Gaddafi  
Staff Reporter

MILLIONS of leaked documents have revealed how the rich and powerful hide their wealth in tax havens.

The documents, leaked from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, show links to 72 current or former heads of state including dictators.

The BBC, which has seen the documents, said on Sunday night they show how Mossack Fonseca has helped clients launder money, dodge sanctions and evade tax.

The company said it has never been charged with criminal wrong-doing and has operated beyond reproach for 40 years.

The leaked documents refer to secret offshore companies linked to the families and associates of Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak, Libya's former leader Muammar Gaddafi and Syria's president Bashar al-Assad.

They also reveal a suspected billion-dollar money laundering ring run by Russian bank, Bank Rossiya, and involved close associates of President Vladimir Putin.

The bank is subject to US and EU sanctions following Russia's annexation of Crimea.

The data also shows how Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson had an undeclared interest in his country's bailed-out banks.

He has been accused of hiding millions of dollars of investments in his country's banks behind an offshore company.

Mr Gunnlaugsson is now facing calls for his resignation. He said he has not broken any rules.

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