Elizabeth Warren asks Treasury Department to investigate US ties in Panama Papers

FILE - In this Feb. 24, 2015 file photo, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington. Senate leaders said Tuesday that Democrats have enough votes to block action on President Barack Obama's trade initiatives unless the parties can work out disagreements on how to package various bills. Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, a strong opponent of Obama’s trade agenda, said Democrats have more than enough votes to block action for now. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, agreed.  (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown called on the Treasury Department to investigate any U.S. ties in the recent Panama Papers leak. –Susan Walsh / AP

In a letter Thursday to the U.S. Treasury Department, Senators Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, and Sherrod Brown, of Ohio, asked the financial agency to probe “any potential involvement of U.S. or U.S.-linked banks, financial services institutions,” in the recent Panama Papers leak.

The Justice Department announced earlier this week it was conducting it’s own probe into the leaks, which include 11.5 million records from Mossack Fonseca, a Panama-based law firm that, according to Vox, specializes in setting up secretive shell companies.

But Warren and Brown asked that the Treasury Department initiate its own investigation, requesting a response from the agency by May 9.

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“As the primary agency charged with protecting the integrity of the U.S. financial system and enforcing our laws against money laundering and terrorist financing, we strongly urge the Treasury Department to conduct its own inquiry into Mossack Fonseca’s activities and its clients,” wrote the two Democrats, both of whom are members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

Among their concerns, Warren and Brown said they were troubled by leaked files showing the firm’s dealing with at least 33 people and companies blacklisted by the United States due to evidence they were working with “Mexican drug lords, terrorist organizations like Hezbollah or rogue nations like North Korea and Iran.”

The Panama Papers have already initiated widespread international tumult, including the resignation of the Icelandic prime minister, the surfacing of evidence of a secret $2-billion fortune controlled by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and another round of corruption charges inside FIFA with ties to the international soccer governing body’s new president.

 

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