The two Mossack Fonseca partners at the centre of the Panama Papers scandal, Jurgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca, have been refused bail. The news follows their arrest by Panamanian authorities on suspicion of money laundering on Thursday.
It is understood that Panama attorney Edison Teano, another partner at the firm of Mossack and Fonseca, has also been detained.
A judge has ordered pre-trial detention for all, to prevent their flight out of the country to avoid prosecution.
Panamanian authorities have questioned four individuals in connection with the case, which is part of an international investigation into hundreds of millions of dollars in political bribes allegedly paid by the Brazilian engineering corporation Odebrecht.
Additional search warrants have been executed by investigators, including at law firms that now employ former Mossack Fonseca attorneys that have already left the firm.
Scandal of huge proportions
Brazilian investigators, with help from the Swiss authorities and journalists including reporters from La Prensa, have unearthed a network of offshore companies which they allege were used to funnel payments hundreds of million by Odebrecht.
Separately, an independent commission has been created to investigate Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela and his role in the corruption in scandal. It is believed that he accepted £16 million to approve major government contracts for the Brazilian construction giant.
The Panama Papers came to light following a leak of 11m files from the internal database of Mossack Fonseca.