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Threat Intelligence

4/6/2016
10:45 AM
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'Panama Papers' Law Firm: We Were Hacked

Founding partner of Mossack Fonseca tells Reuters his firm was a victim of an external hacker who leaked its data.

In the latest twist in the historic "Panama Papers" data leak and scandal, the founding partner of the law firm whose files were dumped, exposing illicit offshore holdings of global political leaders, celebrities, and others, says his firm was hacked by an outsider.

Ramon Fonseca, founding partner of Panama-based Mossak Fonesca, yesterday reportedly denied any wrongdoing by his firm in the wake of the leak of law firm's 11.5 million documents.  

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) on Monday published a report based upon a yearlong study of some 2.6 TB of leaked data, mostly emails. The epic leak exposed illegal practices used to mask wealth and evade taxes, and has resulted in the resignation of Iceland's prime minister, while exposing dealings of friends and associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and associates and relatives of several other national leaders, including China's President Xi Jinping.

Fonesca said he has filed a complaint with the Attorney General, according to Reuters. He said his firm did nothing illegal and didn't destroy documents or aid in any tax evasion or money-laundering activity.

"We rule out an inside job. This is not a leak. This is a hack," Fonseca said.  "We have a theory and we are following it," he told Reuters.

Fonseca says the emails "were taken out of context," and that the publicity surrounding the leak is basically sensationalized journalism. 

"The only crime that has been proven is the hack," Fonseca said. "No one is talking about that. That is the story."

Meantime, speculation has run high over just how the breach occurred and why. 

See the full Reuters report for more details on Fonseca's claims.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio
 

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Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Ninja
4/6/2016 | 2:05:57 PM
The charge is: cooperating with hackers?
The International Consortium of Journalists may be guilty of cooperating with hackers in getting the Panama Papers, but as with the Snowden leak, we are glad to get information whatever way we can. It tells us how our government works (and doesn't work). If high level officials are dodging taxes or not disclosing their business connections while engaged in sensitive negotiations, I'm not going to throw someone in jail for disclosing that. Snowden isn't the best character with which to teach our children ethics, but his disclosures teach the rest of us a great deal.   
DHGNY
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DHGNY,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/7/2016 | 12:31:02 PM
Panama Papers "Hacking"
I doubt that Mossack Fonseca will find many if any sympathetic ears. It is ironic that he built his company on secrecy, sold it as being carefully guarded and virtually impregnable, but neglected to implement measures that would have protected his client database. 
ecote068
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ecote068,
User Rank: Strategist
4/7/2016 | 3:38:15 PM
Panama Papers' Law Firm: We Were Hacked
Is he expecting sympathy because he couldn't secure his site or is he demanding protection against the revalation that his firm was actively engaged in tax dodging?
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