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In hunt for tax cheats, Denmark pays US$900,000 for more Panama Papers

[COPENHAGEN] Denmark's government said on Thursday it had paid some US$900,000 for access to Panama Papers documents to help it identify hundreds of suspected Danish tax cheats.

Tax havens were cast into a global spotlight in April after the details of the offshore financial arrangements of hundreds of thousands of clients, including several world leaders, were leaked from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca by an anonymous whistleblower.

Denmark's move was part of growing global efforts to stamp out tax evasion and came after the Nordic country estimated that in the past three years alone it had lost 12.3 billion Danish crowns (S$2.52 billion) to tax fraud.

"The next step is to dig deeper and find the people and investigate their taxation situation. This will bring us closer to whether there is reason to press charges...," Jim Sorensen, Denmark's tax authority (SKAT) chief, said in a statement.

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Mr Sorensen told Reuters the payment was made to an anonymous source in exchange for access to a wider range of Panama Papers touching on Danish citizens than those that were leaked.

Some 500-600 Danish citizens were being targeted, the tax ministry said in an earlier statement.

In a bid to recoup money paid out in the form of fraudulent tax refunds to Danes abroad, Danish authorities have already carried out raids in Britain and elsewhere.