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Panamanian FPB Bank denies Brazil operations as well as link to Panama Papers law firm

The Panamanian bank, FPB Bank Inc., that has been of illegally operating in Brazilwithout authorization from BancoCentral do Brasil, has denied the allegations and said it does nothave operations in Brazil, according to a July 7 statement.

The bank is being investigated by Brazilian authorities aspart of its federal "Lava Jato" inquiry, the corruption investigationinvolving the state-run oil company Petrobras.

Authorities in Brazil said they discovered the bank wasallegedly offering unauthorized financial services to more than 40 offshorecompanies registered by Panama-based Mossack Fonseca, the law firm involved inthe Panama Papers data leak.  

Brazil's federal police allege that services offered by FPBand Mossack were used to move "dirty" money out of Brazil for peopleand companies involved in the Petrobras case.

"Staff of the Panama-based bank in Brazil not only maintaineda clandestine operation but also ensured their clients' anonymity by usingoffshores," federal prosecutors said in a July 7 Reuters report. A centralbank spokeswoman confirmed that FPB Bank doesn't have a license to operate inBrazil, Reuters said.

Some 60 federal agents were involved in a recent search forevidence against the bank in the cities of São Paulo, Santos and São Bernardowhere documents were seized and several suspects were questioned, the federalpolice said in a July 7 news release. Reuters reported that Edson Paulo Fanton,an FPB Bank executive, was taken into custody for questioning.    

In its statement, FPB Bank denied any involvement with theLava Jato inquiry, adding that it's not a client or intermediary of the Mossacklaw firm.  

FPB noted that some of its clients may have requestedservices from the law firm. "This choice made by the clients has ledauthorities in Brazil to consider that there might be some kind of associationbetween Mossack & Fonseca and FPB Bank Inc., which is false," the banksaid.