Norway police sets up Panama Papers hotline, offers discounted sentence

OSLO - Norway's white-collar crimes police unit on Tuesday established a telephone hotline for people seeking to confess to tax evasion linked to the Panama Papers documents leak and said those who come forward could expect more lenient treatment.

The initiative was announced one day after the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) released a database containing a small fraction of the more than 11.5 million documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, making it possible for anyone to search the released documents.

"Oekokrim has set up a phone number...that can be used by those who wish to put their cards on the table and provide information about potential income or capital abroad which is not available to the Norwegian tax authorities," the agency responsible for tackling economic crime, known as Oekokfrim, said in a statement.

Those who volunteer information could typically expect to see their sentence cut by a third compared to those who get caught by the police, it added.

Tax evasion cases are frequently settled with steep fines, but courts can set prison terms of up to six years in cases considered severe.

The leak of more than 11.5 million documents, the so-called Panama Papers, has shone a spotlight on the shadowy world of offshore companies used for tax evasion, prompting authorities across the world to investigate possible financial wrongdoing by the rich and powerful.