Mossack Fonseca Logo - Panama Papers firm

Authorities across the world are being spurred into action after a huge leak of confidential documents revealed how tax havens are used to hide wealth.

Eleven million documents were leaked from the secretive Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

They show how the company has helped some clients launder money, dodge sanctions and avoid tax.

The company says it has operated beyond reproach for 40 years and has never been charged with criminal wrong-doing.

Since the first revelations late on Sunday a number of investigations have been launched by French, Austrian, Dutch and Australian authorities, among others.

The documents feature 12 current or former heads of state, and at least 60 people linked to current or former world leaders.

The files reveal a suspected billion-dollar money laundering ring involving close associates of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

Iceland’s Prime Minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, is also shown to have had an undeclared interest linked to his wife’s wealth.

By Monday afternoon, 24,000 people in Iceland had signed a petition demanding his resignation, and a protest was expected in Reykjavik later.

Mr Gunnlaugsson has ruled out stepping down.

The leaked documents also show that Ian Cameron, the late father of UK Prime Minister David Cameron, was a Mossack Fonseca client.

Family members of China’s President Xi Jinping, and two other members of the country’s elite Standing Committee are also named in the leaked documents as having links to offshore firms.

The Chinese government has not responded to requests for comment. China appears to be censoring social media posts on the topic.

In other developments:

  • Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko says he has done nothing wrong, after documents suggested he had set up an offshore company
  • Hussain Nawaz Sharif, the son of Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, and one of three siblings shown to own real estate through offshore entities, says “there is nothing wrong with it”
  • Argentina’s presidency has denied that President Mauricio Macri owned shares in an offshore company called Fleg Trading Ltd
  • A spokesman for Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliyev, whose children are named as owners of offshore companies, says such practice “is not banned by any law”, adding that they “are grown up Azerbaijani citizens”