The Morning Risk Report: New Panama Papers Provide ‘Cornucopia’ to Prosecutors – Wall Street Journal (blog)

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The Morning Risk Report: New Panama Papers Provide ‘Cornucopia’ to Prosecutors – Wall Street Journal (blog)

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released on Monday a new series of revelations from the Panama Papers leak, focusing this time on conduct involving Africa. The series found that entrepreneurs and officials across the continent used shell companies to hide corrupt dealings, providing what one legal expert said is a “cornucopia” of findings for prosecutors.

Scott Wilson, a partner at Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP, said prosecutors will be looking for a U.S. hook within the data to prosecute, but they’ll seek something stronger than just ownership of an offshore entity. “Prosecutors will be very interested in the combination of shell companies and the relatives of government officials of countries that are red-hot risk areas for foreign corruption,” he said, pointing to a story about the African natural-resources sector. That sector has been “rife with bread-and-butter [Foreign Corrupt Practices Act] violations,” he said.

Mr. Wilson, however, also said there could be legitimate reasons for African companies to have offshore entities, citing difficulties in moving currency in or out of some African countries due to shaky or inadequate banking services. “Some [offshore] companies may be legitimate repositories for dollar-denominated payments,” he said.

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david gray/Reuters

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Nike CEO Mark Parker.
Brendan McDermid/Reuters


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