The web of hidden money and offshore shell companies documented in the Panama Papers reveals an alternate financial universe that links a single law firm with a rogue's gallery of politicians, moguls and criminal, NBC News reports.
The cases have little in common other than the involvement of the law firm, Mossack Fonseca. The connections are sometimes tangential, and the firm insists it did nothing illegal.
Ramon Fonseca, a co-founder of Mossack Fonseca, said the people connected to the companies were not the law firm's clients.
"They are clients of bank intermediaries, that bought one of our incorporated companies, sold it, and those people used it for who knows what," Fonseca told Panamanian television.
But the documents illustrate the breadth of the underground economic network exploited by the extravagantly wealthy.