Can you believe the “Panama Papers” case is STILL NOT ADJUDICATED YET? They made a GD movie!

Crime

Eight years after the publication of the “Panama Papers” by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which revealed that a Panamanian law firm structured offshore companies to hide money and assets, a trial began in the Gil Ponce Palace to determine the criminal responsibilities of the case. The journalistic investigation, which was published on April 6, 2016, focused on 11.5 million documents from the Mossack & Fonseca law firm.

The Second Settlement Court of Criminal Cases, headed by Baloisa Marquínez, formally began the trial of 29 defendants for an alleged crime of money laundering, which could carry sentences of 12 years in prison. Initially there were 43 people accused, but the Public Ministry requested dismissal of 11.

Isis Soto, second senior prosecutor for Organized Crime, explains that in the trial the order calling for a trial would be issued and subsequently the evacuation of the testimonial evidence and ultimately the allegations.

The Public Ministry at the time will request what is legally appropriate, such as a sentence for each accused, in the allegations phase. Those named are Jürguen Mossack, Ramón Fonseca Mora, Dirk Brauer, Axel Gauster, Ramsés Owens, Rubén Hernández, Hilda Soto, Edison Teano, Rigoberto Coronado, Ricardo Samaniego, Yadira de Boutaud, Yackeline Pérez, Yenny Martínez, Hercibelle González, Zacgary Lundgren, Sabina de Ramos, Ann Atencio, Egbert Wetherborne, Ernesto González, Eyra Perdomo, Valentín Ureña, Itzel Fuentes, Jelka de Martínez, María González, Reina Chong, María Díaz, Amauri Batista, Sandra Naranjo and Hans Kolsdorf. The majority of the accused attended in person. Four did it virtually.

“I am not responsible” for the crime, Mossack told Judge Marquínez, during the trial period that offers the accused the opportunity to plead “guilty” or “not guilty.” Fonseca Mora did not attend the hearing because he was hospitalized. Both – Jurgen and Fonseca Mora – were partners in the law firm.

“The Public Ministry has presented testimonial evidence that we consider relevant to prove the theory of the case,” the prosecutor explained. The file consists of 528 volumes. The trial will last for 18 days, from April 8 to April 26, 2024. The prosecution was also reinforced by prosecutors Marcos Mosquera, Jairo Pitty and Jennifer Escribano.

After the international scandal, which showed that heads of State and Government, politicians, athletes and businessmen were evading taxes and hiding properties through public limited companies, in 2018 the law firm was forced to close its doors arguing that the deterioration of the reputation, the media campaign and the financial siege caused irreparable damage. Furthermore, the country’s reputation was also severely affected. It was later included in discriminatory lists of France, the European Union and the Financial Action Group (FATF).

After the scandal, Panama strengthened its legal framework against money laundering and terrorist financing. The changes paid off. At the end of 2023, the country was excluded from the FATF list.

That same year, Mossack and Fonseca Mora were tried for money laundering in the Lava Jato case in Brazil, which revealed how construction companies paid bribes to rulers and politicians to obtain state contracts.

The trial was scheduled to take place in 2021, but was delayed until now

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