Judge acquits key figures in Panama Papers scandal

Judge acquits key figures in Panama Papers scandal

World News

A Panamanian judge acquitted thirty-nine people in a money laundering case on Thursday. Among those acquitted were lawyers Jurgen Mossack and Ramon Fonseca, who were key figures in the Panama Papers case. Both Mossack and Fonseca have Panamanian citizenship.

Mossack and Fonseca, faced charges of money laundering and creating offshore accounts that were used by the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht to move bribes. 

Judge Baloisa Marquinez Moran ruled that the prosecution did not prove that the law firm Mossack Fonseca handled illicit funds from Brazil, or try to hide them. Fonseca has claimed they were the victims of “scapegoating” to hide who accepted bribes from Odebrecht.

The Panama Papers included a collection of eleven million secret financial documents that illustrated how some of the world’s richest people hide their money. The records were leaked in 2016, and the repercussions were far-ranging. This leak prompted the resignation of the Prime Minister of Iceland and brought scrutiny to leaders of Argentina, Ukraine, China and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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US federal prosecutors have alleged that the Mossack Fonseca firm conspired to circumvent American laws to maintain the wealth of its clients. They allegedly also concealed tax dollars that they owed to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Fonseca said that the firm, which closed in 2018, had no control over how its clients used offshore vehicles created for them.

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