COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Denmark will buy leaked data from a Panamanian law firm that helped customers open offshore companies to avoid paying taxes, the Scandinavian country's taxation minister said Wednesday.
Karsten Lauritzen said Denmark's tax authorities had received an anonymous offer over the summer to acquire data from the so-called "Panama Papers" that could involve up to 600 people. The ministry said communication with the anonymous source was made via encrypted channels.
Lauritzen says "everything suggests that it is useful information" and "we owe it to all Danish taxpayers who faithfully pay their taxes."
"We must take the necessary measures in order to catch tax evaders who hide fortunes in, for instance, Panama," Lauritzen said in a statement. "Therefore, we agreed that it is wise to buy the material."
He said, without providing details, that "there may be fundamental problems associated with buying leaked information," and taxation authorities "should be cautious."
He said Wednesday that other parties in 179-seat Parliament supported buying the documents, which are part of a stash of about 200,000 documents leaked from law firm Mossack Fonseca. "The material contains relevant and valid information about several hundred Danish taxpayers," he said. It was not clear how many lawmakers backed the plan as there had been no publicvote in the assembly.
Lauritzen said the data cost a single-digit million kroner, where 1 million kroner is equivalent to $150,000.