The Justice Department, headed by Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, pictured with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson in December, has announced an investigation into the so-called Panama Papers to determine if there has been any prosecutable wrongdoing in the United States. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
WASHINGTON, April 5 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Justice said it is investigating the Panama Papers leak to see if any revealed evidence of corruption can be prosecuted.
The 11.5 million documents were released over the weekend and included data on about 214,000 offshore established entities, including the holdings of about 140 public officials across the globe.
"We are aware of the reports and are reviewing them," Treasury spokesman Peter Carr said Monday in a statement. "The U.S. Department of Justice takes very seriously all credible allegations of high level, foreign corruption that might have a link to the United States or the U.S. financial system."
French authorities also revealed Monday an investigation had been opened, after the reviewed documents indicated a Luxembourg subsidiary of French banker Societe Generale S.A. helped its clients set up offshore accounts.
At issue is information in internal documents of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, leaked to a German newspaper, detailing alleged holdings of celebrities and politicians across the world in secretive offshore accounts, and possible criminal wrongdoing.
While accounts in foreign banks are often established for legitimate purposes, the documents allegedly show the law firm was involved with foreign political figures and their relatives in purchasing real estate in Miami and other locations, without information on funding sources. The documents also indicate Mossack Fonseca worked with a number of companies on U.S. blacklists for dealing with organizations deemed as terrorist by the United States.
Among those named are prominent Chinese political figures and their relatives. On Tuesday, Chinese news groups were ordered by the government to remove information regarding the leak from their websites, threatening punishment for "attacking China."