GENEVA — A Swiss newspaper reported Wednesday that a computer specialist for the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca has been taken into custody by Geneva authorities in a probe linked to the leak of a massive trove of data on offshore companies.
Daily Le Temps, citing an unidentified person close to the case, reports Geneva prosecutors earlier this week placed the computer specialist for the firm's local office in temporary detention in connection with the recent release of "a very large volume of confidential data.''
A view of the Mossack Fonseca Geneva office entrance on April 5, 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland. (Pxl8/Getty Images)
The revelations could foment new speculation about the source of the so-called "Panama Papers'' leak, in which data was given to a German newspaper detailing the owners and clients of thousands of offshore entities.
The report did not specify when the data was released, but said Geneva prosecutors led a police raid of Mossack Fonseca's local office in which computer equipment was seized.
Panamanian Public Prosecutor Ricaurte Gonzalez (right) conducts an inspection at the offices of the law firm Mossack Fonseca in Panama City, on April 11, 2016. (Rodrigo Arangua/AFP/Getty Images)
Contacted by The Associated Press, the Geneva prosecutor's office confirmed that a criminal investigation led by state prosecutor Claudio Mascotto has been opened following a complaint by Mossack Fonseca, but declined further comment. The law firm's local office did not respond to calls or an email seeking comment.
Data on more than 200,000 offshore entities was leaked to a German newspaper, which shared it with a global network of investigative journalists this year. They published reports on the findings and subsequently published a part of the names for public record.