Court dismisses Panama Papers law firm founders in Lava Jato case

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FILE PHOTO: Ramon Fonseca, founding partner of law firm Mossack Fonseca, gestures during an interview with Reuters at his office in Panama City April 5, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso Reuters_tickers

This content was published on June 17, 2022 – 04:44

PANAMA CITY (Reuters) – A Panamanian court hearing Brazil’s Lava Jato case has tentatively dismissed money laundering charges against the founders of the former law firm linked to the Panama Papers scandal.

In announcing the decision on Thursday, Panama‘s judicial branch also said charges against nearly 40 other people being investigated for alleged money laundering related to the case had been tentatively dismissed.

A judicial source said the decision was, however, subject to appeal by prosecutors.

The investigation, which began in 2016, focused on whether the Panamanian law firm, dedicated to the creation of companies for the alleged movement of illegal funds, had taken part in the Brazilian scandal commonly known as “Lava Jato”. .

It was the biggest corruption scandal in Brazilian history and led to the imprisonment of such prominent figures as former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Judge Baloisa Marquinez said the prosecutor’s office “did not demonstrate which accounts were created in Panama, which were opened for the purpose of hiding money of illicit origin, nor the amount of money entered by offshore companies”.

The court also lifted all precautionary measures and bail applied to defendants, including law firm founders Ramon Fonseca and Jurgen Mossack.

The judicial branch did not respond to a request to indicate how the case will be finally closed.

Now-defunct law firm Mossack Fonseca rose to infamy in 2016 after confidential documents leaked revealing accounts in tax havens linked to the likes of Argentina’s former president Mauricio Macri, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Argentinian soccer star Lionel Messi and actress Emma Watson. .

(Reporting by Elida Moreno; Writing by Valentine Hilaire; Editing by Bradley Perrett)

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