FCA questions 44 more firms about Panama Papers links

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A further 44 financial services firms have been required by the FCA to complete urgent reviews to address possible ties to the law firm at the centre of the Panama Papers scandal.

The firms were required to report back to the regulator last week, an FCA spokesperson confirmed.

Earlier this month, the FCA wrote to around 20 firms, giving them until 15 April to complete initial investigations into ties to Mossack Fonseca or companies managed by the firm.

Interim FCA chief executive Tracey McDermott confirmed the second tranche to the Treasury Select Committee today.

Mossack Fonseca became the centre of a global scandal after the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists revealed the extent of offshore tax dodging channeled through the company.

Prime Minister David Cameron was among those tarnished by association when he admitted holding shares in an offshore fund run by his late father for 13 years.

McDermott confirmed in the select committee meeting that the original leaked papers have not been released by the ICIJ.

“It’s far too early to give any views as to preliminary findings, and there’s nothing necessarily illegal about having offshore arrangements, it all depends on their purpose,” McDermott said.

Labour MP Helen Goodman asked McDermott whether the existing information represented the “tip of the iceberg”, to which McDermott replied it was hard to know what the iceberg is.

“There have been reports of some serious issues of criminality and somethings which may or may not be attractive, but also may or may not be criminal.”