Reports: Panama firm usurped name of Red Cross to hide money

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

PARIS (AP) — Newspapers working on the mammoth leak of offshore data say the Panamanian firm at the center of the scandal used the name and reputation of the International Committee of the Red Cross to help obscure the origin of millions of dollars in questionable money.

There's no suggestion that the humanitarian group knew its name was used in this way. Red Cross spokeswoman Claire Kaplun said Sunday that the revelation was "extremely shocking."

France's Le Monde and Switzerland's Le Matin Dimanche say Mossack Fonseca created dummy foundations to hold shares in some 500 offshore companies. The foundations claimed beneficiaries such as the Red Cross, a maneuver that kept the companies' true owners anonymous, while cloaking them in an "NGO aura."

Mossack Fonseca didn't immediately return an email seeking comment.