MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Attorney Preet Bharara notified the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) about the probe in an e-mail obtained by The Guardian newspaper, which took part in the media frenzy surrounding the publication of alleged 11.5 million documents leaked from Panama’s Mossack Fonseca earlier this month.
"The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern State of New York has opened a criminal investigation regarding matters to which the Panama Papers are relevant," the letter read.
The prosecutor said he would "greatly appreciate the opportunity to speak as soon as possible with any ICIJ employee or representative involved in the Panama Papers Projects in order to discuss this matter further."expose alleged involvement of a number of world leaders and other officials in tax avoidance schemes.
Mossack Fonseca responded to the leak by refusing to validate the information and accused reporters of gaining unauthorized access to its proprietary documents. It warned that using unlawfully-obtained data was a crime that it would not hesitate to punish by legal means.