Prosecutors in Germany have issued international arrest warrants for the cofounders of a Panama-based law firm behind the offshore tax scam that was exposed by the so-called Panama Papers leak.
Mossack Fonseca founders Juergen Mossack and Ramon Fonseca, suspected of tax evasion and associating with criminals, will be arrested if they enter the European Union, German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported.
Cologne prosecutors confirmed that they had issued international arrest warrants for two people but declined to provide further information.
Mossack and Fonesca hold Panamanian passports and are currently in the Caribbean archipelago, which does not have any extradition treaties, the newspaper said.
However investigators hope that Mossack, who has family in Germany, may surrender to officials in order to negotiate a reduced sentence and avoid US charges.
The 2016 Panama Papers leak included a collection of 11 million secret financial documents taken from law firm Mossack Fonseca.
The documents showed how some of the world's richest people hid their money in shell corporations — some of which were used for illegal purposes.
At least 150 investigations have been opened in 79 countries to examine potential tax evasion or money laundering, according to the American Center for Public Integrity.
Luxembourg's tax authority is in the process of analysing a trove of documents linked to the Panama Papers revelations.
Finance minister Pierre Gramegna on Thursday confirmed that Germany had supplied Luxembourg with "a large quantity of documents" linked to the tax avoidance scandal. Gramegna made the statement in answer to a parliamentary question after it emerged that German authorities had made a similar file transfer to Belgium.
Mossack and Fonseca, a former presidential advisor, founded their eponymous law firm in 1986. It expanded operations to 40 countries and territories, from China to Uruguay, before closing down in 2018 as a result of the Panama Papers investigation.