UK investigates 22 suspected tax evaders named in Panama Papers

Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca was at the centre of the Panama Papers leakReuters

More than 30 British individuals and companies are facing criminal charges over suspected tax fraud following the Panama Papers leak.

A task force set up by the HMRC and the National Crime Agency to examine the 11.5 million documents leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca is looking into 22 people suspected of tax evasion, a HMRC spokesman told The Times.

A further 43 high net worth individuals have been placed under review while their links to the Panama documents are investigated.

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Over a hundred media outlets around the world, coordinated by the US-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), began publishing stories on the Panama Papers — the largest whistle-blower leak in history — in April this year.

The leaked documents include emails, banking details and client records stretching back over 40 years, and detail money laundering and tax evasion among the world's elite.

Chancellor Philip Hammond told the House of Commons on 8 November that the task force "has added greatly to the UK's understanding of the ever-more complex and contrived structures that are being developed to mask off-shore tax evasion and economic crime".

He added that information uncovered from the leaked documents had contributed to eight active Serious Fraud Office investigations.

"This intelligence will ensure that the UK remains uniquely placed to contribute to the international effort to uncover, and take action, on wrongdoing, regardless of how deeply hidden the arrangements are, as well as identify those jurisdictions where regulatory oversight requires improvement," the chancellor added.

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