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The French Government has launched hundreds of investigations into the tax affairs of French citizens in response to information revealed in the Panama Papers leak.
French daily Le Monde reported on November 16 that the Finance Ministry has decided to extend investigations into 560 individuals based on information which came to light in the Panama Papers.
A statement published by the Finance Ministry shortly after the initial Panama Papers revelations in April said that France is hoping to gather information via information exchange clauses in its double taxation avoidance treaty network. Taxpayers suspected of having evaded French taxes would then face possible criminal proceedings.
"Once this information [is] checked, we have legal tools to recover evaded taxes and apply penalties, including for holding undeclared offshore accounts or shell companies to escape the tax which would normally have [been paid] to France," the statement said.
The leak concerns more than 11.5 million internal documents belonging to Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. The data includes emails, financial spreadsheets, passports, and corporate records relating to the ownership of bank accounts and companies in 21 offshore jurisdictions. It covers a nearly 40-year period, through to the end of 2015.
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