Panama Papers firm says it was the victim of a hack

The company would rather not have you call it a leak.

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Rodrigo Arangua/AFP/Getty Images
Rodrigo Arangua/AFP/Getty Images
That gigantic Panama Papers leak revealing the sometimes shady tax haven dealings of the wealthy? If you ask the law firm the data came from, it's no leak at all... it's the fallout from an attack. Mossack Fonseca co-founder Ramon Fonseca tells Reuters that this "is a hack," not the action of of a rogue insider. His company even has a theory behind the hack that it's investigating, but he won't say what that is -- he'll only say that the firm has filed a complaint, and that there's a "government institution" looking into it.

Not surprisingly, Fonseca also isn't happy with the coverage: he says the only proven crime here is a hack, and he maintains that his company didn't do anything wrong, such as helping clients dodge taxes. To him, journalists are taking data "out of context" and creating a sensationalist frenzy with very real consequences, such as pressuring the Prime Minister of Iceland to resign.

The issue, as you might suspect, is that the claims hinge on Fonseca's word. As yet, there aren't any corroborating details surrounding the hack, let alone a possible suspect. It's too soon to say how much of this is genuine concern about scapegoating versus an attempt to deflect criticism of Mossack Fonseca's role in storing overseas income.

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