PANAMA CITY: Hear­ings in the money-laundering trial of the heads of the now-defunct law firm Mossack Fonseca, the epicentre of the global “Pana­ma Papers” scandal, concluded on Friday in the Panamanian capital.

Following 10 days of hear­ings, a sentence is expected in the coming weeks, with judge Baloisa Marquinez saying she would take advantage of a law giving her 30 working days to render a verdict — or potentially more in cases of lengthy proceedings.

Prosecutor Isis Soto has requested a sentence of 12 years in prison, the maximum for money laundering, for Jurgen Mossack and Ramon Fonseca, the founders of the firm whose practices were at the heart of the scandal that erupted in 2016.

Documents leaked from Mossack Fonseca revea­led how many of the world’s wealthy stashed assets in offshore companies, triggering scores of investigations around the globe.

“There has truly been a great injustice committed, not only against me, but against all the people that have worked with me, of whom there are many,” Mossack said at the end of the trial.

“I reiterate that both my partner and all the people who have worked with me have been serious, honest and correct people.” The pair are on trial alongside more than two dozen others, mainly former employees. Fonseca did not attend the hearings for medical reasons.

The prosecution accuses Mossack and Fonseca of “concealing, covering up and providing false information to banks for the opening of accounts and concealing ownership of assets.” The pair are also alleged to have “received and transferred funds from illicit activities in Germany and Argentina.” Guillermina McDonald, a lawyer for Mossack and other defendants, said that the trial had been flawed.

Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2024

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