Prosecutors around the world launched investigations in response to a massive data leak that tied some of the world's most powerful people to possible financial crimes, shining the spotlight on the shortfalls of current regulation.
A U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) spokesman told Reuters that it would determine whether there was evidence of unscrupulous activities at the offshore companies set up by Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, echoing similar statements from authorities in France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Brazil and the Netherlands.
The political leaders implicated in Sunday's release of the so-called Panama Papers—more than 11.5 million encrypted internal documents from Mossack Fonseca that reveal the extent of wealth stashed in "shell" companies based in offshore tax havens—are already facing backlash.
In Argentina, President Mauricio Macri was asked for an explanation of his time spent as a director of a now-dissolved offshore company, Fleg Trading, which was managed by Mossack Fonseca in the Bahamas. According to Reuters, Macri said in a televised interview that his father—Franco Macri, one of Argentina's richest men—had founded an "offshore company to invest in Brazil, an investment that ultimately wasn't completed."
Iceland's Prime Minister was slapped with a no-confidence motion by opposition parties amid major protests after the Panama Papers revealed he was the owner of an offshore firm. In an interview with Reuters TV, Gunnaughsson said he would not resign, insisting that his wife had paid all relevant taxes.
Pakistan denied any wrongdoing after the daughter and son of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif were linked to offshore companies, according to Reuters. And Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko defended his commitment to transparency after lawmakers called for an investigation into reports that he had allegedly moved his confectionery business, Roshen, to the British Virgin Islands in 2014 to avoid tax. Poroshenko tweeted that on becoming president, he turned over management of his assets to "consulting and law firms."
Meanwhile, the involvement of British Prime Minister David Cameron's late father, Ian Cameron, in one of the shell companies named in the documents was "a private matter," according to a spokeswoman for Cameron.