Eight injured as fights break out among stranded refugees in Greece | Corpus GREAT Institutes

Eight injured as fights break out among stranded refugees in Greece | Corpus GREAT Institutes

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Greek authorities have said eight people were injured when a fight broke out between groups of migrants camping out in Greece’s main port of Piraeus.

The coast guard said the three-hour fight, believed to have involved Afghans and Syrians, broke out at about 10pm on Wednesday. The aftermath was visible on Thursday, with rocks and broken glass strewn on the street.

Eight people were being treated in a nearby hospital.

More than 50,000 refugees and migrants are stranded in Greece after Balkan countries closed their borders to the massive refugee flow.

Under an agreement between the European Union and Turkey, those arriving from the nearby Turkish coast to Greek islands since March 20 will be sent back.

Hundreds of those camping out in Piraeus were boarding buses to refugee camps elsewhere in Greece on Thursday.

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IMF predicts Greek default will coincide with EU referendum, claims WikiLeaks | Corpus GREAT Institutes

 

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The International Monetary Fund anticipates a possible Greek default on its bailout will coincide with the UK’s referendum on Europe, according to a leaked transcript.

 

WikiLeaks said it had obtained details of a discussion last month between the top two IMF officials in charge of managing the Greek debt crisis – Poul Thomsen, the head of the IMF’s European Department, and Delia Velkouleskou, the IMF mission chief for Greece.

The whistle-blowing organisation said the discussion showed that the IMF was planning to tell Germany it will abandon the Troika (composed of the IMF, European Commission and the European Central Bank) if the IMF and the Commission fail to reach an agreement on Greek debt relief.

The IMF officials say that a threat of an imminent financial catastrophe was needed to force other players into accepting its “measures” such as cutting Greek pensions and working conditions, but that the UK referendum on June 23 will paralyse European decision making at a critical moment, according to the records.

The IMF officials said a threat of an imminent financial catastrophe was needed to help reach a “decision point”, convincing German chancellor Angela Merkel on debt relief and Greece into accepting IMF “measures” against pensions and working conditions, said the transcript.

The UK referendum was said to add a complication that needed to be negotiated around – delaying a possible “moment of truth” until after the June 23 Brexit vote.

Greek finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos has accused the IMF of imposing “draconian measures”, including on pension reform.

The transcript quotes Ms Velkouleskou as saying: “What is interesting though is that (Greece) did give in… they did give a little bit on both the income tax reform and on the…. both on the tax credit and the supplementary pensions”.

Mr Thomsen’s view was that the Greeks “are not even getting close (to coming) around to accept our views”.

Ms Velkouleskou argued that “if (the Greek government) get pressured enough, they would… But they don’t have any incentive and they know that the Commission is willing to compromise, so that is the problem”.

WikiLeaks said, in the meeting, Ms Velkouleskou revealed that the IMF is strategising about whether it should release its updated report on the crisis.

The details were released by WikiLeaks, whose founder Julian Assange has been living inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for over three years to avoid being extradited to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning over a sex allegation, which he denies.

He believes if he leaves the embassy he will be taken to the United States to be quizzed over the activities of WikiLeaks.

Isis supporters threaten London with terror attacks in new propaganda video | Corpus GREAT Institutes

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ISIS

A video made by Isis supporters threatened London, Berlin and Rome (Picture: [copyright])Isis supporters have released a new video calling for new terror attacks in London, Berlin and Rome.

The video, called “Fight them, Allah will punish them by your hands”, called on extremists to “kill (infidels) wherever you find them”.

After showing footage of the attacks in Paris and Brussels, as well as 9/11, the narrator called the previous atrocities a “cautionary message” to nations fighting the so-called Islamic State.

“If it was Paris yesterday, and today in Brussels, Allah knows where it will be tomorrow,” a narrator said in English. “Maybe it will be in London or Berlin or Rome.”

Gory clips of executions were played as a religious song urged followers to launch lone-wolf attacks against the “nations of the cross”, claiming they would be in revenge for air strikes in Iraq and Syria.

“We are the brothers of light with the kuffar in sight,” said the song’s lyrics. “We will march to the gates of paradise where our maidens await.”

What appeared to be a video game simulation of the Eiffel Tower falling was featured, alongside images of a burned Union Flag and the Houses of Parliament under attack.

The propaganda film was released on Monday by a group called Al Wa’ad Media Production, which activists in Raqqa said supported Isis.

Claiming responsibility for the bombings that killed more than 30 people in Brussels last month, militants threatened to bring more “dark days” to Europe.

Some terrorism experts said the latest atrocity showed the group lashing out as it suffers military defeats in its territories and has top commanders picked off by air strikes.

A note attributed to one of the Brussels bombers, Brahim el-Bakraoui, showed panic and disorganisation as he wrote of being “in a rush” and feeling “hunted” by security forces.

The assault came days after the capture of surviving Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam in a huge intelligence coup for European authorities.

Gilles Kepel, a French expert on jihadism, told The Independent that Isis’ propaganda message had become “muddled”.

“Its communication is in crisis,” he said. “These indiscriminate attacks have fallen on multi-cultural cities with exactly the kind of Muslim populations they are trying to recruit.

“But these actions have not brought Muslims together [behind Isis]. Far from it.”

The Panama Files – What you need to Know | Corpus GREAT Institutes

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A marquee of the Arango Orillac Building lists the Mossack Fonseca law firm in Panama City, Sunday, April 3, 2016.Building lists the Mossack Fonseca law firm in Panama City, Sunday, April 3, 2016.What is Mossack Fonseca?

 

It is a Panama-based law firm whose services include incorporating companies in offshore jurisdictions such as the British Virgin Islands. It administers offshore firms for a yearly fee. Other services include wealth management.

Where is it based?

The firm is Panamanian but runs a worldwide operation. Its website boasts of a global network with 600 people working in 42 countries. It has franchises around the world, where separately owned affiliates sign up new customers and have exclusive rights to use its brand. Mossack Fonseca operates in tax havens including Switzerland, Cyprus and the British Virgin Islands, and in the British crown dependencies Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man.

How big is it?

Mossack Fonseca is the world’s fourth biggest provider of offshore services. It has acted for more than 300,000 companies. There is a strong UK connection. More than half of the companies are registered in British-administered tax havens, as well as in the UK itself.

How much data has been leaked?

A lot. The leak is one of the biggest ever – larger than the US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks in 2010, and the secret intelligence documents given to journalists by Edward Snowden in 2013. There are 11.5m documents and 2.6 terabytes of information drawn from Mossack Fonseca’s internal database.

Are all people who use offshore structures crooks?

No. Using offshore structures is entirely legal. There are many legitimate reasons for doing so. Business people in countries such as Russia and Ukraine typically put their assets offshore to defend them from “raids” by criminals, and to get around hard currency restrictions. Others use offshore for reasons of inheritance and estate planning.

Are some people who use offshore structures crooks?

Yes. In a speech last year in Singapore, David Cameron said “the corrupt, criminals and money launderers” take advantage of anonymous company structures. The government is trying to do something about this. It wants to set up a central register that will reveal the beneficial owners of offshore companies. From June, UK companies will have to reveal their “significant” owners for the first time.

What does Mossack Fonseca say about the leak?

The firm won’t discuss specific cases of alleged wrongdoing, citing client confidentiality. But it robustly defends its conduct. Mossack Fonseca says it complies with anti-money-laundering laws and carries out thorough due diligence on all its clients. It says it regrets any misuse of its services and tries actively to prevent it. The firm says it cannot be blamed for failings by intermediaries, who include banks, law firms and accountants

The Panama Files -British banker set up firm ‘used by North Korea to sell weapons’ | Corpus GREAT Institutes

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Nigel Cowie

A British banker who spent two decades living in communist North Korea set up a secret offshore finance company allegedly used by the Pyongyang regime to help sell arms and expand its nuclear weapons programme.

Nigel Cowie – a fluent Korean and Chinese speaker, who studied at Edinburgh University – was behind a Pyongyang front company, DCB Finance Limited, registered in the British Virgin Islands, papers show.

He says DCB Finance was used for legitimate business and that he was unaware of any unlawful transactions.

Cowie moved to North Korea in 1995 when Kim Jong-il was in power, and went on to become head of its first foreign bank, Daedong Credit Bank. Initially operating out of a ramshackle Pyongyang hotel with a staff of three, Cowie led a consortium that in 2006 bought a 70% stake in the bank.

Giving his address as Pyongyang’s International House of Culture, he registered DCB Finance Limited, an offshoot of the bank, in the BVI in summer 2006, with a senior North Korean official, Kim Chol-sam. The Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca incorporated the company, despite North Korea being an obvious high-risk destination.

That July Kim Jong-il signalled his defiance of US sanctions by firing seven ballistic missiles. In October, North Korea carried out its first nuclear weapons test with a controlled underground explosion. The ensuing diplomatic crisis saw the UN impose asset freezes and and travel and trade bans.

In 2013, the US imposed sanctions on Daedong and Cowie’s front company, DCB, as well as on Kim Chol-sam. It alleged the bank provided “financial services” to North Korea’s main arms dealer, the Korea Mining Development Corporation, and its main financial arm, Tanchon Commercial Bank, which were subject to sanctions for the “central role they play supporting North Korea’s illicit nuclear and ballistic missiles programs”.

The US Treasury claimed that since “at least 2006, Daedong Credit Bank had used its front company, DCB Finance Limited, to carry out international financial transactions as a means to avoid scrutiny by financial institutions avoiding business with North Korea”.

Kim was suspected of facilitating transactions worth hundreds of thousands and managing millions of dollars in North-Korean-related accounts.

Before moving to North Korea Cowie worked for HSBC in Hong Kong. From Pyongyang he gave several interviews to visiting foreign journalists, extolling North Korea as an under-appreciated investment opportunity. He told the Wall Street Journal he was part of an “effort to try to get the country going again”. Asked if he might prefer to work out of New York or Hong Kong rather than under an oppressive Stalinist dictatorship, he told the paper: “This is a lot more fun.”

North Korea links ‘went unnoticed’

The Panama Papers reveal Mossack Fonseca failed to notice Cowie’s companies were linked to North Korea – even though he gave an address there. The banker also used Mossack Fonseca to register another company, Phoenix Commercial Ventures Limited. In a joint venture with Pyongyang’s ministry of culture, the firm made CDs and DVD players.

It was only in 2010 that Mossack Fonseca realised it had been dealing with North Korean entities, and resigned as agent. The discovery came after the law firm got a letter from the British Virgin Islands’ Financial Investigation Agency asking for details of Cowie’s company. The next year, Cowie sold his share in the bank to a Chinese consortium.

The Panama Papers include acrimonious emails between Mossack Fonseca’s BVI office and its head office in Panama. In 2013, a member of the firm’s compliance department admitted Cowie’s North Korean address “should have been a red flag”. She wrote: “It is not the ideal situation and it is not gratifying issuing a letter highlighting the inefficiencies of Mossack Fonseca BVI.”

The US sanction against DCB was issued in June 2013, but it referred to a period from 2006, when Cowie was running Daedong. Cowie responded that he had left banking in 2011 to focus on other business commitments.

In a letter, his lawyer said: “My client was a shareholder in DCB Finance Ltd, a company set up to enable DCB to continue to operate after correspondent banks had closed its accounts. The name was specifically chosen in order to reflect the historical connection with DCB. DCB Finance Ltd was used for legitimate business. My client was, and still is to this day, unaware of any transactions being made with any sanctioned organisation or for any sanctioned purpose, during his tenure.”

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IRAQ – 21 Generals Lead a War the U.S. Denies | Corpus GREAT Institutes

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U.S. Army Lieutenant General Robert L. Caslen (2nd R) speaks during a ceremony marking the conclusion of the NATO Training Mission in Iraq, after more than seven years of working to build up new security forces in Iraq, in Baghdad December 17, 2011.U.S. Army Lieutenant General Robert L. Caslen (2nd R) speaks during a ceremony marking the conclusion of the NATO Training Mission in Iraq, after more than seven years of working to build up new security forces in…In the war against the self-proclaimed Islamic State, the U.S. military is notably short on soldiers, but apparently not on generals.

There are at least 12 U.S. generals in Iraq, a stunningly high number for a war that, if you believe the White House talking points, doesn’t involve American troops in combat. And that number is, if anything, a conservative estimate, not taking into account the flag officers running the U.S. air war, the admirals helping wage the war from the sea, or their superiors back in the Pentagon.

At U.S. headquarters inside Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, even majors and colonels frequently find themselves saluting superiors at a pace that outranks the Pentagon and certainly any normal military installation. With about 5,000 troops deployed to Iraq and Syria ISIS war, that means there’s a general for every 416 troops, give or take. To compare, there are some captains in the U.S. Army in charge of that many people.

Moreover, many of those generals come with staffs and bureaucracy that some argue slows decision-making against an agile terror group.

The Obama administration has frequently argued that the U.S. maintains a so-called light footprint in Iraq to reassure the American public that its military is not back in Iraq. Indeed, at times, the United States has not acknowledged where it has deployed troops until one of them died.

But if the U.S. footprint is so small, why does the war demand so many generals?

There is the four-star general in charge of the war, Army Gen. Sean MacFarland, and his two deputies, one of whom is in Iraq at any given time. There is the two-star Army general in charge of the ground war, Army Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky, and his two deputies, who also travel between Iraq and Kuwait. There is the two-star general in charge of security cooperation—things like military sales—and his deputy.

Then there are the one-star generals in charge of intelligence, operations, future operations, targeting, and theater support.

There also are an untold number of Special Forces commanders in the battlefield whom the military does not speak publicly about; the dozen figure presumes at least one one-star Special Forces general.

And that is just the beginning of the top-heavy war fight. That figure doesn’t include the bevy of generals stationed in places like Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar to support the mission. Nor does it count the two-star Air Force general and his one-star deputy in charge of U.S. Air Forces Central Command, which is headquartered at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. Then there is a three-star Marine in charge of Marine Corps Forces Central Command, based out of MacDill Air Force, Florida, and his deputy and their Navy counterparts. All three commands are responsible for the Middle East.

Finally, there are a number of generals from the other roughly 60 coalition countries. The Daily Beast knows of three who support the U.S. generals—from Australia and the United Kingdom.

Once all those additional generals are included, there are at least 21 flag officers in Iraq, a number even military officials concede is conservative, as there likely are other coalition generals and possibly other Special Forces commanders.

Officially, there are only 3,870 U.S. troops, or the equivalent of a heavy brigade, which is usually led by a colonel. One colonel.

As The Daily Beast first reported, however, there are actually more than 5,000 troops, still far short of a footprint that would usually demand a score of generals.

Defense officials defended the deployment of so many generals to The Daily Beast. In a war where there are so many different types of fighters, these officials said, you need generals to coordinate. Today’s warfighter is more lethal, thanks to improved technology, and therefore needs a commander with the appropriate authority to sign off authority on the use of that power. The intelligence reaching the front lines is so complex, it demands the talents of a one-star general, defense officials argued to The Daily Beast.

(Of course, it’s odd to brag about such lethality when the Defense Department has said repeatedly that American troops were “not in an active combat mission” in Iraq.)

These officials also say it is only fitting that Iraqi military leaders engage with a U.S. counterpart of the same rank.

When you look at what they do and what they are in command of and how they provide support, I think it is justifiable,” one defense official explained to The Daily Beast.

Some defenders offer a more simplistic answer—the U.S. military has always used this structure to deploy generals to places like Iraq.

There are as a rule two types of generals in the U.S. military—those who command troops and those who support the fight. The military argues that in Iraq, the U.S. needs far more of the latter than the former. The Iraqi troops, led by Iraq generals, should shape the front lines, they said.

But critics argue that such dependency on U.S. generals in areas outside the battlefield not only suggests a lack of Iraqi skills but also obfuscates the U.S. effort.

“Having this many generals and flag officers gives the appearance of commitment without the substance of commitment,” Christopher Harmer, a naval analyst at the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War, explained to The Daily Beast.

After World War II, the Vietnam War, and the Cold War, the U.S. military downsized its rank and file troops but did not shrink the size of its general and flag officer corps proportionally. The result is a long-standing criticism of a top-heavy military that some argue is costly and not as effective.

A May 2013 U.S. Government Accountability Office report, for example, concluded that “mission and headquarters support-costs at the combatant commands more than doubled from fiscal years 2007 through 2012, to about $1.1 billion.”

Several past defense secretaries have tried to cut the number of generals. Former defense secretary Chuck Hagel tried to reduce the number of general officers and civilians by 20 percent but wasn’t in the job long enough to make it happen. Robert Gates, the defense secretary during the peak of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, proposed eliminating 50 generals and admirals.

If Gates’s efforts succeeded, it is not obvious in today’s military. In addition to all those generals in the Middle East, there are dozens of others at U.S. Central Command in Tampa, which is in charge of the Middle East, and at the Pentagon who also support the U.S. effort in Iraq and Syria—so many that it is impossible to say just how many how many generals are part of the U.S. war effort.

On Wednesday, two of the leading four-star generals of the war stateside took new command positions. Army Gen. Joseph Votel, the outgoing special operations commander, became the new head of U.S. Central Command, which oversees the Middle East. Army Gen. Raymond “Tony” Thomas is Votel’s special operations replacement.

Soon, they’ll be visiting the front lines in Iraq—and adding to the number of American generals on the ground in the ISIS war.

Corbyn Panama Files – Wants Probe Into Cameron Family Taxes – Corpus GREAT Institutes

 

Jeremy Corbyn

Corbyn: Richest Must Pay Their Way

Jeremy Corbyn has demanded an investigation into the tax affairs of Britons linked to the Panama leaks, including the PM’s family.

The allegations in the Panama Papers have seen David Cameron dragged into a row about his late father’s business affairs.

According to The Guardian, papers leaked from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca are said to suggest Mr Cameron’s father Ian ran an offshore fund that avoided having to pay tax in Britain by hiring Bahamas residents to sign its paperwork.

Downing Street insists it was a “private matter” whether the Cameron family still had funds in offshore investments.

But while launching Labour’s local elections campaign in Harlow, Essex, Mt Corbyn told reporters: “It’s a private matter in so far as it’s a privately held interest, but it’s not a private matter if tax has not been paid.

Jeremy CorbynJeremy Corbyn“So an investigation must take place, an independent investigation.

“I think the Prime Minister, in his own interest, should tell us exactly what’s been going on.”

The Labour leader said a probe by HM Revenue and Customs should be “about the amount of money of all people that have invested in these shell companies or put money into tax havens”.

He said he also wanted HMRC “to calculate what tax they should have paid over the years”.

Asked whether the PM should resign if he is found to have benefited, he replied: “Let’s take one thing at a time. We need openness, we need an examination, we need a decision after that.”

Pressed about his own taxes, Mr Corbyn said: “There is no problem with my tax affairs, they are very, very limited indeed. I have got an income as an MP, sadly I have got no family trusts of any sort.”

Panama Files -Cameron ‘must stop pussyfooting around over tax dodgers’- UK Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn | Corpus GREAT Institutes

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The Labour leader said the wealthy 'must pay their way': Jeremy Corbyn at GlastonburyUK Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn

 

David Cameron must “stop pussyfooting around” and take action on tax dodgers, Jeremy Corbyn will demand, in response to the Panama Papers leak which has seen the Prime Minister dragged into a row about his late father’s business affairs .

 

The Labour leader will claim the information shows the need to get tough on tax havens including Britain’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies.

Mr Corbyn will insist there cannot be “one set of rules for the wealthy elite and another for the rest of us”, adding that “the richest must pay their way”.

His intervention comes after Downing Street insisted it was a “private matter” whether the Cameron family still had funds in offshore investments.

The row is embarrassing for the Prime Minister, who has sought to lead global action to improve transparency in an effort to tackle tax avoidance.

The leak of more than 11 million documents from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca has exposed a series of schemes used by wealthy individuals, including some with links to world leaders, to reduce their tax bills.

According to the Guardian, which has seen the documents, Mr Cameron’s father Ian ran an offshore fund that avoided ever having to pay tax in Britain by hiring a small army of Bahamas residents – including a part-time bishop – to sign its paperwork.

Ian Cameron, who died in 2010, was a director of Blairmore Holdings Inc, which until 2006 used unregistered “bearer shares” to protects its clients’ privacy.

His use of the firm to help shield investments from UK tax helped build up a significant legacy, part of which was inherited by the Prime Minister.

There is no suggestion that this avoidance arrangement or others exposed by the leak were anything but entirely legal or that Mr Cameron’s family did not pay the UK tax due on any repatriated assets.

Mr Corbyn will heap pressure on the Prime Minister by demanding action as he launches Labour’s local government campaign.

He will argue that the avoidance of tax by wealthy firms and individuals is starving public services of vital funding.

He will tell the event in Harlow: “The publication of the Panama Papers this week drives home what more and more people feel: that there is one rule for the rich, and another for everyone else.

“It is time to get tough on tax havens. Britain has a huge responsibility. Many of those tax havens are British Overseas Territories or Crown Dependencies.

“As the leaked documents show, tax havens have become honey pots of international corruption, tax avoidance and evasion. They are sucking tax revenues out of our own country and many others fuelling inequality and short-changing our public services and our people.”

The Prime Minister has championed the transparency agenda at a series of international summits, and legislation forcing British companies to disclose who owns and benefits from their activities comes into force in June.

But despite several years of pressure, few UK Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories – said to make up a large part of the tax havens referred to in the papers – have taken concrete action to open up the books.

Mr Corbyn will demand tougher action from the Prime Minister.

He will say: “The Government needs to stop pussyfooting around on tax dodging. There cannot be one set of tax rules for the wealthy elite and another for the rest of us.

“This unfairness and abuse must stop. No more lip service. The richest must pay their way.”

He will also demand extra resources for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to enable the authorities to tackle tax dodgers.

HMRC insisted the Government had been “at the forefront” of international efforts to improve tax transparency.

All of the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories had made “significant progress” on the agenda, HMRC said.

Conservative MP Dominic Grieve, a former attorney general, said there is a need for transparency among public figures.

Asked if questions over investments are a private matter for the Prime Minister, Mr Grieve told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “I understood he said he had no shares in offshore companies so that would appear to answer the question.”

Asked again if it is a private matter, Mr Grieve added: “I think with public figures ultimately we do have a need for transparency.

“It’s worth bearing in mind we have a register of interests at Parliament where we’re obliged to set out very clearly areas of our financial interest which go way beyond what ordinary members of the public have to do, and I’m entirely comfortable with that.”

The Panama Files -There Have Been Huge Protests In Iceland After The Panama Papers Revelations | Corpus GREAT Institutes

The Panama Papers - Global Investigation

Thousands of protesters gathered outside Iceland’s parliament on Monday after the country’s prime minister was linked to the Panama Papers.

Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson has come under increasing pressure to resign after news reports alleged that he and his wife set up a company in the British Virgin Islands with the help of a Panamanian law firm at the center of a massive tax evasion leak. The reports have prompted calls for a no-confidence vote in parliament against him, according to the Associated Press.

Police estimated that around 8,000 people – one of the largest protests seen in the capital city of Reykjavik – gathered outside the parliament building in protest.

Participants blew whistles, banged pots and pans, set off fireworks and stomped the barricades separating the protest site from the parliament building.

But despite the huge protest, a defiant Gunnlaugsson told parliament that he would not resign.

He said: “I have not considered quitting because of this matter nor am I going to quit because of this matter.

“The government has had good results. Progress has been strong and it is important that the government can finish its work.”

He told parliament he and his wife have paid all their taxes in full and he denied having assets in a tax haven. Gunnlaugsson also said there was nothing new in the information contained in the Panama Papers data leak.

He also stormed out of an interview in which he was asked about the issue.

A variety of opposition figures said he should leave office and have called for a no-confidence vote against his centre-right government.

The revelations emerged when an investigation published by an international coalition of more than 100 media outlets, based on 11.5 million records of offshore holdings, has revealed how celebrities, business leaders, criminals, sports stars and politicians from around the world use banks, law firms and offshore shell companies to hide their assets.

The list of names of those implicated is extensive and covers a multitude of nationalities. Among the countries with past or present political figures named in the reports are Iceland, Ukraine, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Argentina, but in UK, there are some that are stand out above the rest.

Six peers, three Tory ex-MPs and “dozens” of UK political party donors – whose names have not yet been released – are reported to be among scores of global politicians including national leaders identified as holders of offshore assets.

David Cameron’s late father Ian, Lord Ashcroft, Lionel Messi, Jackie Chan and Muammar Gaddafi are among those named in the documents.

Panama Files: Jurgen Mossack & Ramón Fonseca – the lawyers whose firm is at the centre of global controversy | Corpus GREAT Institutes

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Ramon Fonseca

Ramon Fonseca is an award-winning novelist 

John le Carre’s 1996 novel, The Tailor of Panama, tells the story of Harry Pendel, a British tailor who serves the great and good but whose refusal to come clean about his past almost leads to his downfall. In Panama, he believes, discretion is the only way.

For more than four decades, the law firm Mossack Fonseca – whose twisting saga may even have been beyond the imagination of le Carre – has adopted a similar strategy of discretion and survival.

If the documents obtained and analysed by theInternational Consortium of Investigative Journalists(ICIJ) are to be believed, the firm that has its headquarters not far from those of the fictional Harry Pendel, has had financial dealing with a total of 128 politicians and public officials around the world. The company has denied any wrongdoing.

The ICIJ says the documents provide an insight into the financial affairs of 12 current and former world leaders. (By contrast, Harry Pendel made suits for just three presidents.)

The company was formed in 1977 by Jurgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca, and specialises in commercial law, trust services, investor advisory and international structures. Its website says it can help reduce costs, incorporate and manage Private Interest Foundations, conduct business in any country and carry out transactions in any chosen currency.

The ICIJ says that Mr Mossack is a German immigrant whose father sought a new life in Panama for his family after serving in Hitler’s Waffen-SS during World War II. The elder Mossack also offered to spy for the US government on “former Nazis turned Communist or unconverted Nazis cloaking themselves as Communists,” after the war, according to US intelligence files obtained by the ICIJ.

Jurgen Mossack studied at the Santa Maria La Antigua University School of Law in Panama.

Mr Fonseca is an award-winning novelist who has worked in recent years as an adviser to Panama’s president, it said.

The consortium said from its base in Panama City, the company has created and established anonymous companies in Panama, the British Virgin Islands and other financial havens.

“The law firm has worked closely with big banks and big law firms in places like The Netherlands, Mexico, the United States and Switzerland, helping clients move money or slash their tax bills, the secret records show,” the ICIJ said.

“An ICIJ analysis of the leaked files found that more than 500 banks, their subsidiaries and branches have worked with Mossack Fonseca since the 1970s to help clients manage offshore companies.”

In a boast that may seem ironic given the massive leak of documents, its website says offices are supported by “secure, state-of-the-art technology that is upgraded continually”.