Geneva (AFP) – Swiss authorities raided the headquarters of European football, Iceland named a new prime minister and the world’s largest drugs company merger fell apart, as the fallout from the Panama Papers scandal gathered pace.
Police searched UEFA’s Geneva offices as part of a probe into a Champions League television rights deal signed by Gianni Infantino before he became the president of world football’s governing body.
Piling pressure on FIFA, already reeling from a vast bribery scandal, Uruguayan Juan Pedro Damiani resigned as an ethics judge after he was linked in the papers to another disgraced football official wanted in the United States.
In Iceland, authorities called elections in the autumn and appointed agriculture minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson as premier after his predecessor was forced out over allegations he hid millions of dollars of investments in the country’s banks.
Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson was the first political scalp of what is thought to be the biggest ever leak of inside information in history, after a worldwide media probe into 11.5 million inside documents from a Panama law firm.
The year-long investigation, published on Sunday, revealed the hidden offshore assets of some 140 political figures, including 12 current or former heads of state, as well as celebrities, sports stars and dozens of billionaires.
The revelations from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) have shone a light on the murky world of offshore tax dealings which, though legal, can he used to hide assets, launder the proceeds of crime or conceal politically inconvenient wealth.
People close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s relatives, Argentine footballing great Lionel Messi and film star Jackie Chan have all been named as owning offshore accounts with Mossack Fonseca.
But the Panama law firm also counted criminals among its clients, including “drug traffickers from Mexico, Guatemala and Eastern Europe” and people and companies under US and European sanctions, said Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the German newspaper that obtained the documents.
In the first taste of how the revelations could reshape the world of business, Pfizer said a $160 billion merger with Allergan to create the world’s largest pharmaceuticals company would not go ahead after Washington moved to tighten taxation rules.