Panama Papers leak shows hundreds of Israeli firms, individuals hold offshore accounts


(JTA) — Hundreds of Israeli companies and some 850 Israeli shareholders are listed as having offshore accounts in a dump of leaked documents known as the Panama Papers.

The 11.5 million documents were published Sunday following a yearlong investigation of their contents led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

The documents, obtained by an anonymous source from a law firm in Panama that specializes in offshore accounts, were then shared with a large network of international media partners, including in Israel with the daily Haaretz.

Among the some 600 Israeli companies found in the documents are Bank Leumi and Bank Hapoalim. Among the Israeli public figures listed in the documents are attorney Dov Weisglass, former bureau chief of the late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and Israeli businessman Idan Ofer.

It is legal to use offshore accounts.

The leaked data, which go back as far as 1975, came from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which is known for creating shell companies that often conceal the ownership of assets in the accounts.

The documents reveal the offshore holdings of 140 politicians and public officials around the world, including 12 current and former world leaders such as the prime ministers of Iceland and Pakistan, the president of Ukraine, and the king of Saudi Arabia.

They were reviewed by journalists from 76 countries.

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