Mossack Fonseca, the Panama-based law firm whose documents were leaked, has reportedly acted for an Iranian oil company that had been blacklisted by the US.
The Guardian reports that the firm only realised that it was working for Petropars Ltd in 2010, when another client accidentally fell foul of the US sanctions that had been imposed on the energy company.
According to the leaked documents, the law firm’s managing partner, Jürgen Mossack, sent an angry email complaining about the lack of background checks:
“Everybody knows that there are United Nations sanctions against Iran, and we certainly want no business with regimes and individuals from such places! Not because of OFAC [the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the US Treasury department that deals with sanctions] but out of principle.”
Mossack Fonseca stood down and Petropars was recorded as inactive from May 2011, as were its two subsidiaries, Drilling Company International Limited and Venirogc Limited. But another Iranian company called Petrocom remained on the books.
In June 2013, the US imposed sanctions on Petrocom’s parent OIIC, describing it as part of a network of 37 front companies set up to manage the Iranian leadership’s commercial holdings. OIIC was allegedly controlled by a holding company called Eiko, which stands for The Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order.
The most recent data, from December 2015, shows Petrocom remains on the firm’s books. A certificate of good standing was issued as recently as April 2015.
In January 2016, the US removed Petropars and OIIC from its blacklist, following the nuclear deal with Iran.
(Sources: The Guardian)