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Panamanian Mossack Fonseca connected with Brazilian corruption scandal

Panamanian Mossack Fonseca connected with Brazilian corruption scandalThe two main partners of Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm at the centre of the so-called "Panama papers" scandal, were arrested on Friday, a media report said.

The arrests of Ramon Fonseca Mora and Jurgen Mossack came hours after the Panamanian authorities accused them of being involved in the "Lava Jato" corruption case in Brazil, Efe news reported.

Fonseca, a former aide of Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela, and Mossack were transferred from the Public Prosecutor's Office headquarters to police custody here, defence lawyer Elías Solano said.

The Panama Papers are an unprecedented leak of 11.5 million files from the database of the world's fourth-biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca. The records were obtained from an anonymous source by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

The documents showed myriad ways in which the rich exploit secretive offshore tax regimes. Twelve national leaders are among 143 politicians, their families and close associates from around the world known to have been using offshore tax havens.

Also on Thursday Panamanian prosecutors raided the offices of Mossack Fonseca, seeking possible links to Brazilian engineering company Odebrecht, according to Reuters.

"Raid of offices of law firm that created limited liability companies in Brazil linked to #LavaJato #PanamaPapers," the attorney general's office said on Twitter, without providing more details.

Ramon Fonseca, a partner at Mossack Fonseca, denied that his firm had a connection to Odebrecht, which has admitted to bribing officials in Panama and other countries to obtain government contracts in the region between 2010 and 2014.

"Mossack Fonseca has no relationship with Odebrecht, nor with any other Lava Jato company," Fonseca told reporters, referring to companies involved in the so-called Lava Jato probe centered on Brazil's state-run oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA.

"They're using me to divert attention," he said.

Fonseca also accused Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela of directly receiving money from Odebrecht, Latin America's largest engineering company.

"He (Varela) told me that he had accepted donations from Odebrecht because he could not fight with everyone," Fonseca said, without giving more details.
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