Closing of the debates in the “Panama Papers” trial

At the “Panama Papers” trial, an international tax evasion scandal revealed in 2016, the proceedings ended on Friday April 19. The court now has thirty days to deliver its judgment.

“The court invokes the time limit provided by law to rule”, declared magistrate Baloisa Marquinez at the end of the debates. This thirty-day period may, however, be extended in the case of voluminous files. The maximum sentence for money laundering – twelve years in prison – was requested on Wednesday against the two founders of the now-closed Mossack Fonseca law firm.

Jürgen Mossack, 76, and Ramon Fonseca, 71, “received and transferred funds from illicit activities in Germany and Argentina”, had stated the prosecutor responsible for the fight against organized crime, Isis Soto, in requesting their conviction. The two defendants also “concealed, covered and provided false information to banking entities to open accounts and conceal ownership of assets”she added.

Read also | Panama Papers trial begins Monday

For the prosecution, they are responsible for having facilitated, through the Panamanian cabinet, the creation of opaque companies in which executives of the German multinational Siemens deposited millions of euros outside the real accounts of the business. These companies would have been used to hide money from the payment of commissions. The law firm was also allegedly used to hold money from a massive scam in Argentina.

” I am not responsable “

Sentences of five to twelve years in prison were also requested against twenty-four other defendants, mainly former employees of the firm. The acquittal of three others was called for. “A great injustice has been done, not only to me, but also to all the people who have worked with me, and there are many”declared Jürgen Mossack after the hearing.

” I am not responsable “, the lawyer of German origin proclaimed at the opening of the trial on April 8. The affair broke out in 2016 after the publication of the investigation carried out by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

Read also | What to remember from the “Panama Papers”

Built on the leak of 11.5 million documents from the Mossack Fonseca study, the “Panama Papers” revealed that heads of state and government, leading political leaders and figures in finance, sports and the artistic world have hidden properties, businesses, capital and profits from the tax authorities.

The reforms undertaken by Panama following the scandal enabled it in 2023 to be removed from the “gray list” of the Financial Action Task Force, a global body fighting money laundering. But Panama is still on the blacklist of tax havens established by the European Union.

The World with AFP

Reuse this content

source site-30