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Panama draws stars but the US is bigger tax haven

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From left to right: Gary Oldman, Meryl Streep, Steven Soderbergh and journalist Jake Bernstein - AFP .

Posted 01/09/2019

The intricate paths of money that passes through Panama are narrated with originality and efficiency in the denunciation film The Laundromat, by renowned American director Steven Soderbergh, with a stubborn and combative Meryl Streep, screened at the Venice Film Festival.

The Hollywood star, who plays a widow deceived by the traps of the financial system, is the central character of a complex and dangerous mechanism narrated with humor and irony.

To tell a scandal that involved about 400 journalists worldwide and revealed the concealment of property, companies, assets, profits and tax evasion of heads of state and government, world policy leaders, personalities of finance, sports, and art, Soderberg, uses two great actors, the British Gary Oldman, and the Spanish Antonio Banderas.

They are the owners of the law firm Mossack and Fonseca, of Panama, whose massive escape of documents in 2016 allowed us to discover how the rich and powerful do to avoid paying taxes.

 Produced by Netflix, the Oscar-winning filmmaker Soderbergh is mostly a lesson, in chapters and with an ironic tone, about corruption, the economic system and tax havens, by two elegant acting masters.

"We thought that having fun was the best way to stay in the viewer's mind and also a way to alleviate the complexity of the subject," Soderbergh explained.

“The United States is one of the largest tax havens in the world. Sixty of its large companies did not pay taxes in 2018, ”warns the director, among the many pearls of the film and  President Donald Trump is skilled in the ways of tax avoidance.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/entertainment/panama-draws-stars-but-the-us-is-bigger-tax-haven

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The Laundromat is a comedy drama based on the Panama Papers scandal, starring Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas, Meryl Streep, Sharon Stone, and directed by Steven Soderbergh.

Sres. Mossack and Fonseca filed a lawsuit against Netflix yesterday in an attempt to prevent the film's digital streaming release on October 18th.

 

 

Edited by Keith Woolford
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Netflix faces $15 billion lawsuit over Panama Papers movie

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Posted 16/10/2019

Jürgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca, the founders of the Panama law firm that creamed multi-millions from businessmen, politicians, sportsmen and celebrities seeking to avoid taxes through offshore front companies are now seeking their biggest haul,  a $10 billion lawsuit against  Netflix.

It was launched on Tuesday, October 15, three days after the platform premiered The Laundromat a film about the “Panama Papers”  scandal uncovered by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in 2016.

In the civil lawsuit, filed in the Connecticut District Court, in the United States,  the two lawyers, and the Mossack Fonseca & CO. and MF & CO Law Firm, claim from  Netflix the payment of $10 billion, for alleged defamation, invasion of deprivation, false advertising and trademark violation.  

The plaintiffs allege that The Laundromat) presents them "as ruthless and indifferent lawyers, who are involved in money laundering, tax evasion, bribes and / or other criminal conduct." They also refer that the "real" name of both is used in the film, in a "defamatory" manner.

They indicate in the demand that in the advance of the film it is indicated that it is " based on real crap ", and then the question appears: " How do 15vmillion millionaires in 200 countries stay rich? ". Answer: " with lawyers like these, " and immediately appear actors Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas, who play Mossack and Fonseca, respectively, laughing "sinisterly, dressed in flashy clothes."

Actress Meryl Streep, plays Ellen Martin, a widow deceived by the traps of the financial system and central character of the plot.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/world/netflix-faces-15-billion-lawsuit-over-panama-papers-movie-1

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Netflix responds to Panama Papers $10 billion suit

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Meryl Streep,Antonio Banderas and Gary Oldman, the three stars of the ,movie

Posted 18/10/2019

Netflix has replied to the $10 billion civil lawsuit launched by the founders of the Mossack Fonseca law firm against the movie “The  Laundrromat” a black comedy based on the Panama Papers revelations which brought international notoriety to  Panama and the company.

The film was released internationally on Friday, October 18 and can be viewed in Panama.

Jürgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca Mora demand the payment for alleged defamation, false advertising, invasion of deprivation and trademark violation.

According to the plaintiffs, the production presents them as "ruthless and indifferent lawyers, involved in money laundering, tax evasion, bribes and other criminal behaviors."

In its response in the  Connecticut, United States, District Court,  Nextflix asked for dismissal of the case or its transfer to a California state court.

Among the arguments indicated by the lawyers, interpreted in the film by Antonio Banderas and Gary Oldman, is the possible interference that the film would have in the cases they face in Panama and in an investigation in the US of one of its employees.

Until Thursday, the case was handled by Judge  Janet Bond Atherton , of the  Connecticut District Court, States, who, ordered that the civil lawsuit be treated in California, where the offices are located. main platform and the tape was produced and marketed.

Judge Atherton never ruled on the plaintiff’s request to restrict the issuance of the film.

In its defense, Netflix argues that The Laundromat is not the cause of the "reputational damage" allegedly infringed on Mossack and Fonseca, since it "actually occurred years ago, long before the film was issued, as a result of the publication of the Panama Papers, "referring to the investigation of the   International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) , which revealed how various personalities of politics, sports and royalty hid fortunes and evaded taxes through  offshore companies .

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/entertainment/netflix-responds-to-panama-papers-10-billion-suit

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US fugitive laundering suspect loses habeas corpus appeal

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r Ramsés Owens

Posted 05/12/2019

Lawyer Ramsés Owens, who is under investigation  for alleged money laundering through the Jal Offshore company.and for laundering  related to the activities  of the Mossack Fonseca firm, will remain under house arrest after   the Panama Supreme Court  denied  an appeal of habeas corpus presented by Owens so that the precautionary measure could be modified

The precautionary measure was imposed on Owens by the seventh anti-corruption prosecutor, Leyda Sáenz, in charge of the investigations.

The Jal Offshore investigation began on the basis of a complaint filed before the Public Prosecutor on June 22, 2015 by the Superintendence of the Securities Market, which detected alleged anomalies in transactions carried out by the company through the now-defunct  Financial Pacific securities house (FP), between 2010 and 2013.

According to the complaint, securities houses cannot receive cash from customers for purposes other than the purchase of financial instruments or receive money from other accounts.

As part of the same case, the Fourteenth Criminal Court denied Owens permission to leave the country.

Owens has been declared a fugitive in the US where he is facing  money laundering charges

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/us-fugitive-laundering-suspect-loses-habeas-corpus-appeal-1

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Panama Papers  money laundering hearing stalled

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Posted 10/12/2019

Moves by the defense  team  of Jürgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca Mora have led to  the second  suspension of the preliminary hearing of the process for alleged money laundering followed by, the founding partners of the former firm Mossack Fonseca (MF), and 32 other people,

It was scheduled for Tuesday, December 10, but suspended due to the presentation of a warning of unconstitutionality and the appeal of a nullity incident by defense attorneys.

In  November the act could not be carried out because one of the accused changed his lawyer and asked for more time to get acquainted with the file.

The company, headquartered in Panama and with offices around the world created tax-dodging offshore accounts for businessmen, politicians, and sports and entertainment figures. and was the center of an international scandal known as the Panama Papers, which was recently portrayed in a Netflix movie.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/panama-papers-money-laundering-hearing-stalled

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Moves by the defense  team  of Jürgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca Mora have led to  the second  suspension of the preliminary hearing of the process for alleged money laundering 

These two will never see the inside of a jail cell.

One of them is a part time Boqueteño but I understand from a neighbour that he hasn’t been seen here lately.

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First Mossack Fonseca conviction in New York

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Posted 08/02/2020

US prosecutors have got their first conviction in the Mossack Fonseca investigation, known to the world as the Panama Papers. The two principals of the now extinct company remain under house arrest in Panama.

Harald Joachim von der Goltz , a German accused in New York of electronic fraud, money laundering, tax evasion and other crimes arising from the investigation of the on International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ  on )the activities of Mossack Fonseca , has announced his intention to plead guilty says a note signed on February 6 by the prosecutor of the South District Court of New York, Geoffrey S. Berman, and the head of the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery section of the Department of Justice, Deborah Connor, in which they inform Judge Richard M. Berman that the defendant Von Der Goltz - through his defense attorneys - expressed his intention to plead guilty at a hearing scheduled for February 18.

Van der Goltz is a German octogenarian, married to an American and based in Guatemala, who was a client of Ramses Owens, a former lawyer for the now extinct Mossack Fonseca.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/first-mossack-fonseca-conviction-in-new-york

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Fugitive lawyer sought as first Panama Papers sentence could mean life

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Ramses Owens under house arrest

The first person convicted in the Mossack Fonseca  (Panama Papers) scandal could die in jail. while US authorities turn their eyes to a lawyer currently under  house arrest in Panama   for his involvement in another corruption case

In  a US federal court, Harald Joachim von der Goltz pleaded guilty on February 18 to having participated in conspiracies to evade taxes and launder money and  to not properly informing the US authorities of his finances and making false statements to the authorities

 Von der Goltz,82 is exposed to a possible maximum sentence of 75 years in prison plus several million dollars in fines and confiscations.

The  sentencing judge will have discretion as to the penalty he imposes, but there is a possibility that Von der Goltz will spend the rest of his days in prison. The prosecutors have  already informed him in writing that the probable penalty is between 151 and 181 months, according to sentencing  guidelines “for a case like yours "

This is the first case linked to the “Panama Papers” scandal resulting in a conviction in the United States, and the name of the extinct  Panama firm Mossack Fonseca is repeatedly listed in the more than 60 pages of the prosecution, as well as the name of the  Panama lawyer Ramses Owens, who worked in the firm. But Von Der Goltz did not mention them by name during his guilty confession. He simply said that, with the goal of evading taxes in the United States, "I committed these acts alone and with the assistance of my lawyers."

Von der Goltz is a citizen of Germany and Guatemala, not American. However, his status as a resident of the United States required him to pay taxes and meet all financial requirements there, even if it was income earned in other parts of the world.

Apart from sentencing Von der Goltz on February 24, the next step in the case will be the prosecution of Dirk Brauer and Richard Gaffey, accused of having participated in the conspiracies with Von der Goltz.

Ramses Owens is another co-defendant. Despite not having been mentioned by name during the hearing, The Department of Justice, confirmed to that all charges against  Owens are in effect and that his status as a “fugitive”

His team of defenders in the United States argues that Owens has not been able to appear before the US courts to defend himself against the accusations because in Panama there is against him an impediment to leave the country.

The PanamaSupreme declared legal the precautionary measure of house arrest imposed on Ramsés Owens, as part of the investigation carried out by the Seventh Anti-Corruption Prosecutor for alleged money laundering through the Jal Offshore company .

This investigation began on the basis of a complaint filed before the Public Prosecutor on June 22, 2015 by the Superintendence of the Securities Market, which detected alleged anomalies in transactions carried out by the Jal Offshore company through the former Financial Pacific  securities house (FP) , between 2010 and 2013.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/fugitive-lawyer-sought-as-first-panama-papers-sentence-could-mean-life-1

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"Panama tax haven" will star in New York laundering trial

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Posted 26/02/2020

The" Panama Papers "  which rocked financial centers around the world and Panama's international perception as a "tax haven" will play a key role in a criminal trial to begin next week in a New York said Federal judge Richard Berman, after two hearings on  Monday while Panama was partying.

In the dock will be Richard Gaffey, a co-defendant of Harald von der Goltzwjo pleaded guilty last week to having participated in a conspiracy to launder money and evade their taxes in the United States.

82-year-old Von der Goltzwjo will be sentenced on June 24 and could spend the rest of his life in jail.

But before that,  on March 5 Gaffey will face a jury trial for his part in the conspiracy.

The Prosecutor's Office of the Southern District of New York revealed that it will present some 300 documents of the so-called “Panama Papers” and that it will bring German officials to authenticate them.

Gaffey's defense lawyers protested that this evidence should be inadmissible because the alleged "Panama Papers" were "stolen by an unknown individual," a hacker who may have tampered with the documents.

In addition, Gaffey's defense requested that Judge Berman not allow prosecutors to refer to Panama, the British Virgin Islands and other jurisdictions as "tax havens" during the trial.

Prosecutors said they do intend to use that term and that they will submit communications between von der Goltz and Panamanian lawyer Ramsés Owens in which this term was used. Prosecutors particularly mentioned a presentation that, according to them, Owens made in London.

It is clear that prosecutors plan to submit emails, memoranda, invoices and other documents that circulated between the  former Panama law firm  Mossack Fonseca, Owens, Gaffey and von der Goltz

Another request of Gaffey's defense was that the term “shell companies” not be allowed to be used at trial.

Judge Berman reviewed these and other requests from  Gaffey's defense and denied them all. The "Panama Papers" will be admissible, as well as the phrases "tax haven" and "shell company".

At Monday's hearing, Judge Berman said that von der Goltz.s  sentence will be "fair and reasonable," based on factors such as the nature of the crimes, the history of the accused and the information presented by both sides. The usual guidelines for a case suggest a penalty of between 151 and 181 months in prison reports La Prensa.

On May 12 a hearing will be held before Judge Berman to clarify the amount of the tax evasion that von der Goltz has confessed since the sentence must consider a requirement that the defendant makes restitution. At Monday's hearings, figures between $1.5 million and $ 4.6 million for restitution were mentioned.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/ampampquotpanama-tax-havenampampquot-will-star-in-new-york-laundering-trial-1

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Another Panama Papers fraudster pleads guilty, coughs up $9 million

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Posted 28/02/2020

A Massachusetts accountant pleaded guilty to US charges stemming from the massive tax evasion strategy orchestrated by Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca revealed by the Panama Papers leak.

Richard Gaffey, 75, pleaded guilty on Friday,  February  28  in New York to eight charges, including tax evasion, money laundering, and electronic fraud. He also agreed to give up $5 4 million and will pay $3.4 million in compensation. Gaffey will be sentenced on June 29.

He was one of four accused by federal prosecutors in 2018 It was the first criminal case - and the only one so far - related to the large number of fictitious company records revealed by a consortium of journalists in 2016. Mossack Fonseca was dissolved in 2018.

The records showed how Mossack Fonseca worked with European banks to create more than 200,000 ghost extraterritorial companies for wealthy clients - including world leaders, prominent athletes and performers, and criminals - used to hide billions of dollars in transactions.

Gaffey was an accountant for Harald Joachim von der Goltz, 82, founder of Boston Capital Ventures, who invested in small, high-growth businesses. Von der Goltz pleaded guilty to the charges in the case last week. He would have accumulated foreign interests close to $ 70 million through a maze of corporations, foundations and bank accounts.

Two other defendants in the New York case, Ramses Owens - partner of Mossack Fonseca - and Dirk Brauer - manager of an affiliated investment firm - were arrested in Panama and Paris and have not yet appeared in the United States. Prosecutors said they were both responsible for creating and managing the structures for two decades that US taxpayers used so that millions of assets would not pay taxes.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/another-panama-papers-fraudster-pleads-guilty-coughs-up-9-million

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Panama Papers probe involves lawmaker

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Posted 02/06/2020

The Panama Papers offshore tax evasion scandal that reverberated around the world fingering politicians, sports, and entertainment celebrities is now surfacing in Panama’s  Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ).

 Sara Montenegro, who is a substitute for the  PRD deputy Crispiano Adames is being investigated for money laundering in after her case was referred by the Eighteenth Criminal Circuit Court because as a   parliamentarian she cannot be tried in regular courts.

CSJ president  Luis Ramón Fábrega will attend to the case. Once his office reviews it, the Plenary of the Court will decide on acceptance or rejection. If accepted it will be assigned a guarantee judge and a fiscal magistrate.

Montenegro was a lawyer at the Mossack & Fonseca law firm. The case began in the hands of the Second Special Prosecutor's Office against Organized Crime which followed companies that were created in Brazil by the law firm for alleged money laundering.

Among others under investigation are : Jurgen Mossack, Ramón Fonseca and Edison Tean

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama-papers-probe-involves-lawmaker

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Former Panama Papers client jailed in US

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The former offices of Mpssack Fpnseca

Posted 21/09/2020

Harald Joachim Von der Goltz, 83, a former client of the defunct  Panama law firms Mossack Fonseca at the center of the Panama Papers scandal was sentenced Monday, September 21, to four years in prison for evading more than $ 3 million in taxes.

The case was one of those revealed after the investigation by members of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

Before a US federal court on February 18, Von der Goltz pleaded guilty to having participated in conspiracies to evade taxes and launder money.

He also accepted that he did not properly inform the US authorities of his finances and made false statements to the authorities.

According to a Daily News report, Von der Goltz used a complex network of shell companies, bank accounts, and a false base to hide his investments from US authorities with the help Mossack Fonseca.

"No matter how complicated the plan is, the US government will bring to justice those who attempt to evade their tax obligations under the law," Acting Manhattan US Attorney Audrey Strauss told the Daily News

Although Von der Goltz was born in Germany and lived in Guatemala, his status as a resident of the United States required him to pay taxes and meet all the financial requirements of that northern nation.

This is the first case linked to the 2016 ICIJ investigation that results in a conviction in the United States and the name of the defunct law firm Mossack Fonseca appears repeatedly in the more than 60 pages of the indictment, as well as the name of lawyer Ramsés Owens, who worked in that firm.

But Von Der Goltz did not mention them by name during his guilty plea. He limited himself to saying that, with the goal of avoiding taxes in the United States, "I committed these acts alone and with the assistance of my lawyers."

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/former-panama-papers-client-jailed-in-us

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Contador es condenado a prisión en Nueva York, por caso ligado a Mossack Fonseca

Mónica Palm
24 sep 2020 - 08:24 PM

https://www.prensa.com/mundo/contador-es-condenado-a-prision-en-nueva-york-por-caso-ligado-a-mossack-fonseca/

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Another Panama Papers launderer jail bound

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Panama lawyers Mossack and Fonseca

Posted 25/09/2020

A 76-year-old accountant from Massachusetts was sentenced Thursday to 39 months in prison for tax evasion, money laundering and wire fraud.

Gaffey was also sentenced to two years probation, according to a press release from the US Justice Department.

Judge Richard Berman of the Southern District Court of New York also ordered the confiscation of

$5.4 million, the payment of a compensation of $ 3.4 million and a fine of $25,000.

Gaffey, who had pleaded guilty on February 28, was charged at the end of 2018, along with the Germans Harald Joachim von der Goltz and Dirk Brauer, and the Panamanian lawyer Ramsés Owens, who was part of the defunct Mossack Fonseca firm.

Last Monday, the 83-year-old Von der Goltz was sentenced to four years in prison and an additional three years on supervised release; In addition, Judge Berman ordered the confiscation of $5.3 million, and that the convict restore $3.4 million and pay a fine of $ 30,000 thousand.

Gaffey was an accountant for Von der Goltz, who, although born in Germany, had Guatemalan nationality, but resided intermittently in the United States.

This is considered the first criminal case related to a large number of records of companies and fictitious companies of now-defunct Panama Law Firm Mossack Fonseca which many used to hide fortunes and other transactions, according to the publications of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ,), in 2016.

Owens and Brauer have not appeared in person before US courts.

"Owens and Brauer are still at large," says a press release from the Department of Justice

Prosecutors have noted that Owens and Brauer are responsible for creating and managing structures used by US taxpayers to avoid paying taxes.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/another-panama-papers-launderer-jail-bound

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Orden de arresto en Alemania para Mossack y Fonseca

Redacción de La Prensa
20 oct 2020 - 12:00 AM

https://www.prensa.com/impresa/panorama/orden-de-arresto-en-alemania-para-mossack-y-fonseca/

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Germany issues arrest warrants for Panama Papers  legal duo

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Jurgen Mpssack and Ramon Fonseca

Posted 19/10/2020

Four and a half years after the Panama Papers exposure by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), German authorities issued arrest warrants for two Panama founders of the defunct Panamanian Mossack Fonseca.

The Munich-based daily Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ),  reported on   Monday, October 19 that the Cologne prosecutor's office confirmed "the existence of two international arrest warrants." Although the prosecution did not specify names, according to SZ they are Jürgen Mossack - of German origin, but based in Panama - and his partner Ramón Fonseca Mora, for alleged tax evasion and organized crime.

"For decades, Mossack Fonseca helped politicians, FIFA officials, and criminals, billionaires, and celebrities, to hide their money," said the SZ about the activities of the former firm, whose activities were exposed in several investigations that, were released in  April 2016.

 The ICIJ with more than 400 journalists spread around the world disclosed, their findings after more than 11 million internal Mossack Fonseca documents were leaked.

The arrest warrant would imply that Mossack,72, and Fonseca  68  would be detained, at the request of Germany, in any country that is part of the European Union.

Both are presumed to be in Panama. The Panamanian Constitution prohibits the extradition of its nationals.

According to the SZ, the authorities do not rule out that Mossack, who has a family in the Federal Republic of Germany, will voluntarily confront the Cologne authorities. As part of a deal and because of his age, he could avoid a long sentence. At the same time, he could get away with criminal prosecution in the United States, because if he were tried in Germany, the American authorities would probably not charge him again with the same charges.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/germany-issues-arrest-warrants-for-panama-papers-legal-duo

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Panama Papers guilty pleas while local lawyer roqms free

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Posted 10/03/2021

Alexander von der Goltz, 52, the son of a former client of the defunct Mossack Fonseca firm, has pleaded guilty to tax evasion, fraud and falsification of documents, in a court in the Southern District of New York while  a Panama lawyer alleged to have created  the tax evasion structure leading to the Panama Papers scandal roams free

On March 4, Von der Goltz reached an agreement validated by Judge Richard Berman, who sentenced him to a payment of $230,365 in favor IRS) and three years of probation. The payment has already been made through a cashier's check, according to the electronic records of the Court.

Florida resident Joachim Alexander is the son of 83-year-old Harald Joachim von der Goltz, who on September 22, 2020 was sentenced to four years in prison and an additional three years on supervised release, by Judge Berman.  It was also ordered the confiscation of $5.3 million, and that the convicted person restore $3.4 million and pay a fine of $30.000.

The Von der Goltzes, along with Richard Dick Gaffey, a 76-year-old accountant from Massachusetts, constitute the first criminal convictions derived so far by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) publications of Mossack Fonseca's activities in 2016.

On September 24, 2020 (two days after Harald Joachim), Judge Berman sentenced Gaffey to 39 months in prison for tax evasion, money laundering, and wire fraud, and two years of probation. The judge also ordered the confiscation of $5.4 million, the payment of a compensation of $3.4 million and a fine of $25, 000

Harald Joachim von der Goltz and Dirk Gaffey were indicted in late 2018, along with Dirk Brauer and Panamanian lawyer Ramsés Owens, who previously worked at Mossack Fonseca.

Brauer and Owens have not appeared in person in US courts and are held responsible for creating and managing structures used by US taxpayers to avoid paying taxes.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama-papers-guilty-pleas-while-local-lawyer-roqms-free

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42  accused in money laundering case

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Mossack and Fonseca

31/05/2021

The Third Liquidator Court will hold a hearing on Tuesday, June 1 with 42 people accused of alleged money laundering through the Lava Jato (car wash) operation.

Among the defendants are Jürgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca Mora, from the defunct law firm Mossack Fonseca, which is linked to the creation of offshore companies through which large sums of money were allegedly deposited to acquire real estate to launder the money the product of the payment of bribes.

The investigation began in 2014 when the Brazilian authorities that carried out the Lava Jato operation discovered that María Mercedes Riaño, an employee of Mossack Fonseca, was contacted for the creation of companies whose objective was to mobilize illegal funds.

The then Brazilian judge Sergio Moro, a key player in the corruption investigations in Brazil, assured that there was “evidence that Mossack Fonseca has provided the necessary services for the opening of offshore companies for, at least, four agents involved in the scheme to launder money ”.

As a result of this, then-attorney general Kenia Porcell announced the opening of an investigation for alleged money laundering.

La Prensa  reports that the court has not yet released details of where the hearing will be held and whether it will be in person or virtual.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/42-accused-in-money-laundering-case

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"Panama Papers” hearing postponed until November

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Posted 20/09/2021

The preliminary hearing scheduled for  Monday, September 20, for alleged money laundering, in a process initiated in 2016 related to the activities of the defunct firm Mossack Fonseca, was postponed to November 22, because three of those investigated  presented various excuses.

An edict signed by the Third Liquidator Judge of Criminal Causes, Baloisa Marqúinez, reported that Ramsés Owens, through his lawyer Marcela Arauz, presented a certificate of medical incapacity, valid from September 15 to 24, signed by the obstetrician-gynecologist Ricardo Ponce Carrizo.

In the certificate, the doctor says that the disability is the result of surgery.

In addition, the lawyer Luis Carlos Gómez, defender of Dirk Brawer and Axel Gauster, presented an excuse because this same Monday he had to attend a hearing, for another case, at the office in Colón of the Superior Court of Appeals.

For this reason, Judge Marquínez decided that the preliminary hearing will be held on the previously scheduled alternate date, from November 22 to December 17, 2021, at 9:00 a.m.

The case, which began with the publications of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), is related to the alleged concealment of illicit funds from executives of the German company Siemens .

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/quotpanama-papers-hearing-postponed-until-november-1

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After 5 years no lessons learned from Panama Papers

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Posted 01/10/2021

Five years after the “ Panama Papers” revealed the activities of the Mossack Fonseca law firm, Transparency International (TI) based in Berlin, queries whether anything has been learned.

"Mossack Fonseca was just one of the many law firms that continue to operate as corporate service providers, incorporating companies in offshore jurisdictions on behalf of clients, acting as shareholders and nominee directors, and managing these companies for an annual fee," says TI, pointing to gaps in the regulations on corporate property and deficiencies and delays in the creation of a registry of final beneficiaries.

TI refers to the role of resident agents in the creation of offshore companies and the exchange of information. In the event of an investigation, the authorities request information from the corporate service provider and, "if they are lucky", this "will reveal the information in time, this information will be accurate and the provider will not notify its client in the meantime."

The note also refers to the lack of updating of the information and the fact that the authorities have to indicate the reason for which they are requesting the details about the owner, which can lead to the agents informing their clients.

"Five years on, it seems unthinkable that such a flawed model remains in force and that it be considered a viable option in a country's anti-money laundering framework."

One of Panama's bets to improve access and exchange of information is the creation of a registry of final beneficiaries. Although it was approved in March 2020 the Panamanian registry of final beneficiaries “only exists on paper”, while the “Government has not taken steps to adopt the regulation and it does not seem likely that they will take place in the near future ".

"Panama continues to rely on poorly supervised resident agents, and Panamanian companies continue to be considered a secret weapon to commit crimes and launder money," the note said.

The Panamanian Chapter of Transparency International has warned that the regulation, as it stands, has gaps that will affect its effective implementation, such as its limited access -the proposed registry would be private and not public- and the lack of responsibilities to ensure the veracity and accuracy of the information provided.

The Panamanian organization has also questioned that the bill does not include the General Directorate of Public Procurement as one of the competent authorities to request information from the registry and has stressed that the focus should not only be to provide information when required by authorities. foreign countries, which in turn is linked to Panama's efforts to get out of the Financial Action Group's gray list, but to take advantage of them internally to promote transparency in the country.

 “An effective beneficial ownership regime would do much more than help Panama remove its name from the gray lists. There is growing evidence in countries that have already put in place effective beneficial ownership disclosure systems that such a system would also help authorities to be better equipped to detect and combat corruption, conflicts of interest in public procurement It would also support businesses and help increase trust and integrity in the business and financial sectors. "

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/after-5-years-no-lessons-learned-from-panama-papers

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