Image: The White House Image: The White House

Barack Obama is taking executive action to launch a crackdown on international tax evasion following the revelations of the 'Panama Papers' leaks.

Among a series of measures, the President's action will see loopholes used by foreign nationals in the US for tax evasion closed, with Mr Obama calling on Congress to pass the legislation.

In a statement, the White House said: “In recent weeks, the disclosure of the so-called ‘Panama Papers’ – millions of leaked documents reportedly revealing the use of anonymous offshore shell companies – has brought the issues of illicit financial activity and tax evasion into the spotlight.

“The Panama Papers underscore the importance of the efforts the United States has taken domestically, and the efforts we have undertaken with our international partners, to address these shared challenges.”

The package of measures will see immediate action to tackle money laundering terrorist financing and tax evasion through greater transparency rules; new rules implemented by the US Treasury to prevent foreign nationals using anonymous entities to hide illegal activity; and new rules forcing banks to complete tougher "customer due diligence".

Treasury secretary Jack Lew said: “The treasury department has long focused on countering money laundering and corruption, cracking down on tax evasion, and hindering those looking to circumvent our sanctions.

“Building on years of important work with stakeholders, the actions we are finalizing today mark a significant step forward to increase transparency and to prevent abusive conduct within the financial system.”