Bulgaria tax agency asks for Panama Papers data – report
Bulgaria’s National Revenue Agency (NRA) asked for information on Bulgarian nationals and companies mentioned in the Panama Papers, the data leak that details a web of offshore companies managed by Panama-based legal firm Mossack Fonseca, mass-circulation daily 24 Chasa said.
The newspaper’s journalist Alexenia Dimitrova was the only Bulgarian reporter given access to the 11.5 million leaked files, obtained last year from an anonymous source by Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). In an earlier report, 24 Chasa said that at least 50 Bulgarian companies, six intermediary firms, 16 owners and 78 shareholders had been found so far in the Panama Papers, but gave no names.
In a letter to the newspaper, NRA asked for data on Bulgarian nationals and companies, saying that any such information would only be used to “carry out the revenue administration’s powers as defined by law.” The agency said it was ready to assist with trawling through the data, if asked for help.
Speaking to Bulgarian National Television on April 4, Dimitrova said that she could not make the data available to the NRA without the approval of the ICIJ.
Described by ICIJ as “likely the biggest leak of inside information in history”, it includes 2.6 terabytes of data on more than 214 000 offshore companies connected to people in more than 200 countries and territories. The data, which spans nearly 40 years worth of records, was leaked from Mossack Fonseca, whom ICIJ names “one of the world’s top creators of shell companies”.
Although offshore companies are not illegal in themselves, they can be used for tax evasion and money-laundering, a point the NRA also made in its letter to 24 Chasa.
(Photo: Darren Deans/sxc.hu)