Nearly a third of the business of the law firm at the centre of the Panama Papers scandal came from its offices in Hong Kong and China, reports said yesterday.
More than 16,300 of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca's active shell companies were incorporated through its Hong Kong and China offices, 29 percent of the worldwide total, according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which co-ordinated a year-long investigation into a trove of 11.5 million documents.
The investigation found that relatives of at least eight current or former members of China's Politburo Standing Committee, the ruling party's most powerful body, have been implicated in the use of offshore companies.
Such vehicles are not illegal in themselves and can be used for legitimate business needs. But they commonly feature in corruption cases, when they can be used to secretly move ill-gotten gains abroad.
Media in the Communist-ruled country have avoided reporting on the leaks' Chinese revelations, and social media has been scrubbed of references to them, with foreign news broadcasters such as the BBC blacked out when they report on the Panama Papers.
Mossack Fonseca has offices in eight Chinese cities including Hong Kong, its website showed, more than any other country.