A luxury conference room. (Hotel du Vin & Bistro / CC BY-ND 2.0)

For its best customers, the services offered by Mossack Fonseca, the international firm at the heart of the mass tax-avoidance scandal went far beyond legal services and banking, a New York Times review of the leaked documents known as the Panama Papers shows.

The firm “acted as a concierge for ‘all details regarding your properties and worldwide business affairs,’ ” the Times reports, citing language from the firm’s employees, “helping [one] family confidentially purchase (and dispose of) luxury condominiums at resort destinations and even arranging repairs for a car stored at a vacation home and hiring a contractor to fix broken poolside tiles.”

The firm wrote to one client in an email: “You deserve the best Mr. Ponsoldt, and we will try to help you the most we can.” William R. Ponsoldt acquired tens of millions of dollars building a string of companies over the years, and as he neared retirement he turned to Mossack Fonseca to learn how “could he confidentially shift his money into overseas bank accounts and use them to buy real estate and move funds to his children,” the Times reports.

The firm described Ponsoldt in an email in 2004: “He is the manager of one of the richest hedge funds in the world… Primary objective is to maintain the utmost confidentiality and ideally to open bank accounts without disclosing his name as a private person.” In summary, the firm explained: “He needs asset protection schemes, which we are trying to sell him.”

Mossack Fonseca’s U.S. clients often expressed incredulity at how much they could reduce their tax burden by using the techniques the firm advised, the Times reports.

“At hearing that he can make nearly $8 million per year just on tax savings,” a client from Pennsylvania “was now wide awaken,” a Mossack Fonseca staff member wrote. “I could even detect sweats coming down from his forehead and his cheeks were beginning to blush with crimson excitement. Noticing his interest, I went in for the kill.”

Continue reading the Times’ full, detailed report here.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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