(Reuters) - New York State's financial regulator has asked Goldman Sachs (>> Goldman Sachs Group Inc) and three foreign banks for information about shell companies set up through a Panamanian law firm, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
The New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) also requested the same type of shell company information from BNP Paribas SA (>> BNP PARIBAS), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (>> Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce) and Standard Chartered Plc (>> Standard Chartered PLC), the person said.
Goldman is the only U.S. bank the NYDFS has contacted about the request, the person said.
Spokespeople for Goldman Sachs and Standard Chartered declined to comment. Representatives for BNP Paribas SA and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce did not immediately return calls requesting comment.
The move by NYDFS comes weeks after the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) worked with media outlets including The Guardian and BBC to report on 11.5 million leaked documents from Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca.
The documents, which have come to be known as the Panama Papers, contained information on about 214,000 offshore companies and showed how individuals and corporations were able to hide assets and avoid taxes. The ICIJ made its database of documents publicly available on Monday.
Last month, the NYDFS sent a similar request to 13 banks, including Deutsche Bank AG (>> Deutsche Bank AG), Credit Suisse Group AG (>> Credit Suisse Group AG), Commerzbank AG (>> Commerzbank AG), ABN Amro Group NV (>> ABN AMRO Group) and Societe Generale SA (>> SOCIETE GENERALE).
NYDFS had requested details about the 13 banks' communications, telephone records and details of other dealings between their New York branches and employees or agents of Mossack Fonseca.
The NYDFS letter also asks the banks to disclose any internal or external investigations involving the law firm or shell companies they helped to set up.
None of the banks contacted by NYDFS have been accused of wrongdoing.
Bloomberg reported the most recent letter earlier on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn; Additional reporting by Olivia Oran in New York and Maya Nikolaeva in Paris; Editing by Alan Crosby and Chris Reese)
By Suzanne Barlyn