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A stark warning to Legal firms and Lawyers

In the Panama papers case, hackers hacked into a legal firm and corporate service provider in Panama, Mossack Fonseca. The firm was, at one time, the world's fourth largest provider of offshore financial services. From its 1977 foundation until the April 2016 publication of the Panama papers it remained mostly under the radar, even though it sat at the heart of the global offshore industry, and acted for about 300,000 companies. On March 14, 2018, the law firm announced that it was shutting down, because of the economic and reputational damage inflicted by the disclosure of its role in global tax evasion by the Panama papers. The first people charged with crimes in the US arising from the panama papers is set to face trial in January 2020.

At the core of the issue is the lawyers defending those people who are charged by the US government are saying that materials from the Panama papers which were leaked 'illegally' are protected by lawyer client privilege.

In the Glencore case where the High Court in Australia ruled that the Australian Tax Office can use the materials published in a leak similar to the Panama papers named the Paradise Papers, the Courts in the US might make a similar stand as in setting aside the protection of lawyer client privilege.

Clients of legal firms expect confidentiality including the safety and security of their details held by the lawyers and their firms. The above 2 cases where the legal firms were hacked and their data were released to the public that has now resulted in these clients being pursued by the authorities in the countries where they operates / stayed in. Should these legal firms be held responsible for dereliction of their duties and responsibilities?


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