Two Brazilian cabinet ministers whose names appear in the Paradise Papers said Monday that there was nothing illegal in keeping funds in an offshore account.
Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles and Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi appear in data leaked from offshore law firm Appleby, which emerged as part of the Paradise Papers released by the US-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
Meirelles, a former senior official at BankBoston and a possible presidential contender, is linked through an organization called the Sabedoria Foundation.
A statement from his office described the foundation as a philanthropic body created when he was living in the United States to use part of his inheritance for education in Brazil.
The foundation seed money was reported to tax authorities, and the philanthropic body will remain inactive until Meirelles's death, the statement said.
Meirelles headed Brazil's Central Bank from 2003-2010 after his career at BankBoston.
Meanwhile Maggi, an agribusiness mogul, said in a statement that he was "never a direct beneficiary" of Amaggi Louis Dreyfuss Zen-Noh International Ltd, an offshore trust registered in the Cayman Islands.
The trust is a creation between the Amaggi family group -- in which the cabinet minister is a shareholder -- and the Dutch food giant Louis Dreyfuss Commodities group.
The Amaggi group, the largest Brazilian company in the soybean industry, said that shareholders received benefits from the offshore trust "in an indirect way," emphasizing that it was "perfectly regular and legal" under the laws of Brazil and the Cayman Islands.
The Amaggi group also told AFP that the agriculture minister has had "no position in the administration" of the group since he entered public life.