Trial against 27 people from today in the eight-year-old Panama Papers case, they are accused of tax evasion

Panama Papers: This revelation made by a group of journalists in 2016 shook the governments. It also included the names of many high-profile individuals. After the revelations, many investigations related to this were started across the world.

Apr 8, 2024 - 17:13
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Trial against 27 people from today in the eight-year-old Panama Papers case, they are accused of tax evasion

Of the people accused of tax evasion in the 'Panama Papers' revelations, 27 will be tried on money laundering charges from Monday i.e. March 8. Through the Panama Papers, it was revealed how many rich people of the world have kept their wealth in offshore accounts (accounts used to deposit money abroad).

This revelation made by a group of journalists in 2016 shook the governments. It also included the names of many high-profile individuals. After the revelations, many investigations related to this were started across the world.

The trial of this case is starting in a court in Panama. The founder of a now-defunct legal practice at the centre of a tax evasion scandal, Ramon Fonseca Mora, and Jurgen Mossack are among those on trial in Panama's criminal court.

Due to the 11.5 million files that were leaked from his company Mossack Fonseca, numerous powerful people, including billionaires, politicians, and even athletes, were the subject of investigations. Following the revelation that members of his family had offshore accounts, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, the prime minister of Iceland, was compelled to step down.

After his identity surfaced in the Panama Papers, Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister of Pakistan at the time, was permanently barred from holding the position. The Panama Papers also affected football player Lionel Messi, Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, former Argentine president Mauricio Macri, and former British prime minister David Cameron.

These files (files related to the Panama Papers) were leaked to a German newspaper, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, which shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Many of those caught in the scam had given reasons for keeping accounts abroad and said that they had not done any illegal work.

However, Mossack Fonseca declared in 2018 that it was ending its services, claiming the incident had permanently tarnished its reputation. Since the scandal surfaced, Panama has passed new legislation, but this Central American nation is still on the EU's blacklist of tax havens.

Money laundering was legal at the time the Panama Papers were made public. It could be difficult for the court to find the accused guilty in such a case. Since 2019, tax evasion has carried a $300,000 yearly fine in Panama.

In 2023, Mossack and Fonseca were prosecuted in Panama for alleged money laundering in the Brazilian "Car Wash" corruption scandal involving construction group Odebrecht. Prosecutors requested up to 12 years in prison for both in that case. The punishment has not been announced yet. According to the judiciary, the latest trial is expected to last till April 26.

Muskan Kumawat Journalist & Writer