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Germany has issued international arrest warrants for the two founders of the firm at the centre of the tax haven scandal exposed by the Panama Papers data leak, German media reported.

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Mossack Fonseca founders Juergen Mossack and Ramon Fonseca, suspected of tax evasion and associating with criminals, will be arrested if they enter the European Union, German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported late Monday.

A spokesman for the Cologne public prosecutor's office confirmed that two international arrest warrants had been issued in connection with ongoing investigations, but did not identify those involved.

Mossack and Fonesca hold Panamanian passports and are currently in the Caribbean archipelago, which does not have any extradition treaties, the newspaper said.

However investigators hope that Mossack, who has family in Germany, may surrender to officials in order to negotiate a reduced sentence and avoid US charges.

The Panama Papers, a massive data leak in April 2016, exposed widespread tax avoidance and evasion using complex structures of offshore shell companies and caused an international outcry.

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