PANAMA - The Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, epicenter of the so-called Panama Papers leakage, announced that it will take "decisive" action against the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) for having published its entire database yesterday.
"As a responsible and respectful of press freedom company, we have sought to communicate in order to avoid legal action. However, by ignoring our 'cease and desist' letter, the consortium forces us to initiate decisive legal action to protect ourselves from such acts," the company said in a statement Tuesday.
On Monday ICIJ made the 11.5 million leaked documents from the Mossack Fonseca servers available to the public so that users can search information on over 200,000 companies, foundations and investment funds filed in various tax havens.
"We reiterate that the use of stolen private information is a crime in all states in which we operate. Mossack Fonseca operates in all jurisdictions under compliance with respective regulations of the industry and all the services are always provided legally," said the firm.
In addition, the firm added that the information published by ICIJ "is fraught with errors, leads to erroneous conclusions and attacks prestigious and legitimate businesses irresponsibly."
The ICIJ warned users that offshore companies have "legitimate uses" and stressed that the consortium does not intend to state that people or companies appearing in the documents have breached the law.
The scandal, considered the biggest leak in the history of data journalism, already affects more than 140 politicians and high-ranking officials all over the world, including several current or former heads of state and government or their relatives.