Tunisian news website investigating Panama Papers shut down after cyberattack

Published April 6th, 2016 - 08:30 GMT
Someone didn't like what Inkyfada was revealing about Tunisians involved with the Panama Papers. (Shutterstock)
Someone didn't like what Inkyfada was revealing about Tunisians involved with the Panama Papers. (Shutterstock)

The editorial staff of Tunisian webzine Inkyfada involved in the journalistic investigation on “Panama Papers” said Tuesday it was forced to temporary close access to the site, after the multiplication of cyber attacks targeting it.

“The site has suffered a set of violent and continuous attacks since Monday evening (...) As a result our technical team have decided to close access to the site pending resolving technical problems,” the Editor of Inkyfada said on Facebook.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF), on Tuesday, “strongly” condemned this cyber attack, expressing support for Inkyfada.

“We strongly condemn this cyber attack that shows how investigative journalism scares in Tunisia,” said Yasmina Kacha, head of RSF office in North Africa.

The site had revealed on Monday evening that general co-ordinator of the “Tunisia Project” movement Mohsen Marzouk was one of the Tunisian figures that got in touch with the Mossack Fonseca firm.

Inkyfada said Marzouk got in touch with the Panama-based firm to learn about the opening of an offshore company between the two rounds of the presidential election in 2014, when he was campaign director of current President Beji Caid Essebsi.

“Can a politician residing in Tunisia pretend working for the general interest, while seeking to relocate part of his activity?” the site wondered.

In a statement to Mosaique FM radio, Marzouk denied outright any contact with the Panamanian company, saying he will sue the webzine.

“We have never accused Mr. Marzouk of unlawful conduct, we are saying that his name appears in emails exchanged with the Mossack Fonseca firm, while explaining the level of involvement of the various actors,” noted the editor of  Inkyfada in a Facebook post.

Inkyfada also explained that the cyber attack helped access the site and publish false articles involving other figures, particularly former president Moncef Marzouki, noting that the only name published so far in relation to the investigation is that of Mohsen Marzouk.

Other publications on Tunisian figures are expected and will be release later,” the webzine said.

“We will examine the names of Tunisians appearing on the list of Panama Papers and information they contain,” Governor of the Central Bank of Tunisia Chedly Ayari said on Tuesday.

For his part, Minister of Justice Omar Mansour, on Tuesday, tasked the General Prosecutor at the Court of Appeal in Tunis to monitor the case of “Panama Papers” and initiate investigations on the subject.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and a hundred international media got together to disclose information on the assets of hundreds of political, business and sports figures across the world in tax havens.

Conducted by 378 journalists from 77 countries, the investigation covered 11.5 million documents of the Panama firm specialising in the establishment of offshore companies Mossack Fonseca.

128 political leaders and twelve heads of state or government, of which six still in office would be concerned.

© Tap 2019

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