Leak v Hack: How did journalists get the Panama Papers?

The firm at the centre of the leaks says information is being reported out of context

Leak v Hack: How did journalists get the Panama Papers?

ICIJ

A partner at Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm at the centre of the Panama Papers controversy says that the release of the 11.5 million plus documents was not an "inside job" and that it was the victim of a hack.

As several countries launch investigations into the potential financial wrongdoings of companies and individuals, Mossack Fonseca has filed its own complaint with the office of the Panamanian attorney general claiming that it was the victim of a cyber attack. Ramon Fonseca said that the firm was attacked by servers based abroad.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists' (ICIJ) report is attributed to an anonymous whistleblower who contacted Munich-based newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, with the message "Hello, this is John Doe," - a name traditionally used to signify that a person is unidentifiable - "Interested in data?"

The news outlet has a track-record in investigating tax and money laundering scandals. The source went on to send 11.5 million documents to the publication which then began verifying that the information was genuine.

International cooperation

Confronted with the mass of data the newspaper contacted the Washington-based ICIJ, the organisation who coordinated the publication of the LuxLeaks in 2014. It worked with 400 journalists from more than 100 news organisations in 80 countries before publishing its findings.

"We are amazed that nobody has said: 'Hey, a crime has been committed here'," founding Mossack Fonseca partner Ramon Fonseca told Reuters news agency.

In another interview with AFP he said that "The world is already accepting that privacy is not a human right."

"The world is already accepting that privacy is not a human right," he told AFP agency separately.

Before the publication of the documents, the firm is reported to have contacted clients saying that there had been an "unauthorised breach of our email server."

The firm has accused media outlets around the world of reporting based on unlawfully obtained information which has been reported out of context.