April 21, 2016 / 2:02 PM / 3 years ago

NY regulator wants foreign banks' records on dealings with Panama firm

Police officers stand guard next to a company list showing the Mossack Fonseca law firm outside their office in Panama City April 12, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

(Reuters) - New York state’s financial regulator has told 13 foreign banks doing business there to hand over details about their dealings with a law firm in Panama that helped set up thousands of shell companies, a person familiar with the matter confirmed.

The move by the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) came weeks after the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists worked with media outlets including The Guardian and BBC to report on 11.5 million leaked documents from Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca.

The documents, which have come to be known as the Panama Papers, contained information on about 214,000 offshore companies and showed how individuals and corporations were able to hide assets and avoid taxes.

NYDFS asked the banks, including Deutsche Bank AG, Credit Suisse Group AG [CSGNNY.UL], Commerzbank AG, [COMZBI.UL] ABN Amro Group NV and Societe Generale SA for their communications, telephone records and details of other dealings between their New York branches and employees or agents of Mossack Fonseca.

The banks are not accused of wrongdoing.

Spokespeople for Deutsche Bank, ABN Amro and Societe Generale declined to comment. Spokespeople for the other banks could not be immediately reached.

Bloomberg reported the story late on Wednesday.

The U.S. Justice Department is also reviewing reports about the offshore financial arrangements of global politicians and public figures based on 11.5 million leaked files from a Panamanian law firm, a department spokesman said on Monday.

The department is determining whether the findings point to evidence of corruption and other violations of U.S. law.

Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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