Panama Papers law firm boss Ramon Fonseca dies mid-trial

Panama Papers law firm boss Ramon Fonseca dies mid-trial
Panama Papers law firm boss Ramon Fonseca dies mid-trial

He was a partner of the law firm Mossack Fonseca, at one time the world’s fourth-largest provider of offshore financial services. The firm closed due to “irreparable damage” in the wake of the Panama Papers revelations.

Panamanian lawyer Ramon Fonseca, co-founder of the now-defunct law firm at the center of the “Panama Papers” scandal, has died, the National Bar Association of Panama said on Thursday.

Fonseca died in a hospital in Panama City while awaiting sentencing in his money-laundering trial, his lawyer said, adding that health issues were “why he did not attend the trial” that began on April 8, some eight years after the revelations first emerged.

Former Panama president defends Fonseca

The public prosecutor’s office had called for a 12-year sentence for Fonseca, as well as for his former business partner, German-born Jürgen Mossack.

“A great man, lawyer, writer and politician. May he rest in peace,” Panama’s former president Ricardo Martinelli, in power from 2009 to 2014, posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. Fonseca was the victim of “cruel persecution,” he added.

A verdict in the money laundering process is expected by the beginning of June at the latest.

What was the ‘Panama Papers’ leak?

In 2016, a trove of some 11.5 million secret financial documents were leaked to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ).

The documents revealed how many of the world’s wealthy stashed their assets into offshore companies.

The resulting scandal had far-reaching repercussions and resulted in the leaders of countries leaving office following the revelations.

The former Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif were among those forced to quit their posts.

In 2020, German prosecutors issued international arrest warrants for Fonseca and Mossack on charges of aiding tax evasion and forming a criminal organization, but neither were extradited.

Source: Dw

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