Yesterday, very few people had heard of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. Today, the firm is splashed across the world’s media, indelibly linked to the tax affairs of the world’s elite.
Already, the press are starting to name other law and advisory firms, and like it or not, those firms will be tarred with the Mossack Fonseca brush.
So what to do when the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal or CNN calls? Or worse, if they start calling your clients asking whether they approve of their legal advisers advocating morally questionable practices?
Simply stating that “we have done nothing illegal” is not enough. If anything, it suggests that you knew only too well what you were doing and do not care about the consequences.
A strategy that takes into account the nature of your clients is needed, and one that not only considers the world’s media, but your clients and staff.
This story will run for many more days, if not weeks, and will not stop with Mossack Fonseca. So prepare now.
Simmons & Simmons and Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW) are among a number of international law firms named in the Panama Papers document leak. The leak of millions of documents from Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca hit headlines on Sunday night (3 April) as it was revealed 12 national leaders are among 143 politicians, their families and close associates thought to have been using offshore companies to minimise tax payments.