Federal agents and prosecutors are "chomping at the bit" to exploit the Panama Papers and launch prosecutions, a senior federal law enforcement official told NBC News, but want to be sure that the way the huge data dump about offshore money was obtained doesn't jeopardize their cases.
"It is a bonanza," the official said in reference to the cache of 11 million financial documents about shell companies that a Panamanian law firm set up for some of the world's shadiest and most powerful people.
"It will keep a lot of agents very busy for a very long time," the official told NBC News. "They will be following the leads and figuring out who is trying to hide stuff illegally, money and also illegal activities."
The official, who is familiar with ongoing discussions about the document trove, said agents from every three-letter agency are lining up to crunch the data to bolster existing cases and build new ones against organized crime syndicates, drug cartels, foreign corrupt and kleptocratic regimes and even suspected Hezbollah terror cells in Latin America and possibly the U.S. That includes the FBI, the IRS and other Treasury agents, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
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