Among the more than 11.5 million financial and legal records leaked from a Panama law firm may be clues that help U.S. regulators trying to track millions of missing dollars in a securities fraud case.
Investors, the Securities and Exchange Commission and a New York judge say the records might provide new leads to where Chetan Kapur, the former managing director of New York-based ThinkStrategy Capital Management, stashed his money. Kapur has been sitting in a federal lockup near a dingy strip of Brooklyn waterfront since July, claiming he’s broke and can’t pay $10 million in securities fraud judgments.
Getting access to the papers will be a challenge. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which holds the documents, has said it won’t share them voluntarily with the U.S. The investors may ask a judge to order them turned over.
The leaked documents exposed the holdings of politicians, celebrities and drug traffickers, leading to the resignation of Iceland’s prime minister. The documents, known as the Panama Papers, came from the law firm Mossack Fonseca, which helped set up anonymous shell companies, according to the ICIJ.
“Any thoughts to what, if any tools we have available to again access to the Panama Papers as they pertain to Mr. Kapur and his millions?” U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer asked lawyers at a hearing this month.
Jason Solotaroff, a lawyer representing investors who won a $4.8 million fraud judgment against Kapur, said he might ask a federal judge in Washington to issue a subpoena for ICIJ’s records, while the SEC said it’s monitoring the group’s website for further disclosures.
Engelmayer’s interest in the papers was piqued after the Financial Express, a newspaper in India which participated in the project, said in an April 8 report that it reviewed Mossack Fonseca files relating to Kapur and his older brother Kabir. The judge issued an order April 21, encouraging the investors and the SEC to keep pursuing Kapur’s money, including “leads suggested by the Panama Papers.”
The “most voluminous bunch of documents” related to the Kapurs and an entity Chetan Kapur started with the help of lawyers at Mossack Fonesca -- the Family and Children Charitable Foundation, the newspaper said.