WASHINGTON, May 9 (UPI) -- Fallout from the Panama Papers on Monday cut substantially deeper for those involved when an investigative journalism group launched a new searchable online database that names persons and companies behind hundreds of thousands of offshore accounts -- some with the intention of skirting their respective nations' tax laws.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which has members worldwide, states that the database includes details for more than 320,000 accounts.
"The data covers nearly 40 years up to the end of 2015 and links to people and companies in more than 200 countries and territories," ICIJ states on the database page. The information goes all the way back to 1977.
"More than 370 reporters in nearly 80 countries probed the files for a year," the group's website says. "Their investigations uncovered the secret offshore holdings of 12 world leaders, more than 128 other politicians and scores of fraudsters, drug traffickers and other criminals whose companies had been blacklisted in the U.S. and elsewhere."
"The real value of the database is that it strips away the secrecy that cloaks companies and trusts incorporated in tax havens and exposes the people behind them," ICIJ added, noting that the names of more than 360,000 individuals are in the database.
ICIJ obtained the data that populates the database from two sources -- the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, the original source of the leak, and Portcullis Trustnet -- now Portcullis -- and Commonwealth Trust Limited, two offshore service providers that were focuses of the group's offshore leaks exposé in 2013.
The group said it is releasing the information out of concern for the public interest. An anonymous leaker who first divulged the information to a German newspaper posted a manifesto online last week and said that some of the accounts have been used to commit a variety of serious crimes.
"In the end, thousands of prosecutions could stem from the Panama Papers, if only law enforcement could access and evaluate the actual documents," the leaker, known as "John Doe," wrote. "I, however, would be willing to cooperate with law enforcement to the extent that I am able."