Mossack Fonseca Law Firm Leak & Attorney-Client Privilege
April 26, 2016
We previously posted DoJ Launches CriminalInvestigation of Hundreds of US Taxpayers Named in Panama PapersLeak! where we discussed that the offshore planning world was set on fire with the news that 11 million documents were leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.
They allegedly show how Mossack Fonseca has helped clients launder money, dodge sanctions and evade tax and now The Guardian reports that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has “led several crusades against criminal wrongdoing in the financial sector, is already investigating several of the more than 200 US citizens named in the papers.”
Current and former clients of the law firm subject to the leak now face the potential exposure of their confidential documents and conversations spanning nearly 40 years. Whenever confidential attorney files are leaked, innocent clients, as well as those who may have been seeking to cover up wrongdoing, face the potential of their personal information and confidential files being reviewed by reporters, members of the public and government investigators.
Even when only a subset of the stolen documents are publicized, the DOJ can often obtain additional, nonpublic material through grand jury subpoenas served on the entities or individuals that now possess the stolen files or through mutual legal assistance treaties to foreign authorities.
This raises the question of whether U.S. government investigators are able to make use of these "Privileged Materials" that appear to have been hacked from Mossack Fonseca, an overseas law firm?
Individuals with Potential Exposure Should Consult with U.S. and Local Counsel and Consider Their Legal Options Now!
Any arguments to preserve privilege should be presented as promptly as reasonably possible to minimize the potential for a judicial finding of waiver of privilege. It may take months or even years for the full implications of such leaks to be clear, but for those who anticipate potential legal exposure, the time for them to assess their legal options is now.
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