Four men have been criminally charged in the US government’s investigation into the findings of the Panama Papers, the leaked files from the offshore law firm Mossack Fonseca.
Prosecutors in New York said the four men, including an attorney and an investment manager who worked for the company, have been charged with wire fraud, tax fraud, money laundering, and other crimes.
The prosecutors said Mossack Fonseca perpetrated a “decades-long criminal scheme,” which was first exposed in a series of articles since 2015 by the Guardian and dozens of media partners around the world.
Geoffrey Berman, the US attorney in Manhattan, said in a statement on Tuesday that the four went to “extraordinary lengths to circumvent US tax laws” in order to boost the wealth of their clients.
“Now, their international tax scheme is over, and these defendants face years in prison for their crimes,” said Berman.
Those charged were Ramses Owens, a Panamanian attorney who worked for Mossack Fonseca; Dirk Brauer, an investment manager for a Mossack subsidiary; Richard Gaffey, a US-based accountant; and Harald Joachim von Der Goltz, a former US resident and Mossack client.
Von Der Goltz, an 81-year-old German citizen, was arrested in London on Monday, according to prosecutors, who thanked British authorities for their assistance in the case.
Brauer, 54, was arrested in Paris last month and Gaffey, 74, was arrested in Massachusetts on Tuesday. But Owens, 50, remains at large, US authorities said. The charges were unsealed on Tuesday. A court filing indicated that the men had been indicted in secret by a grand jury in September.
Investigators said Owens and Brauer had for years created and managed sham foundations, opaque offshore trusts and undeclared bank accounts to allow American clients of Mossack Fonseca to hide their income from US tax authorities.
Clients were then advised on how to illegally bring the funds from their offshore accounts into the US, using specially created debit cards and falsely claiming the money had come from the sale of companies.https://archive.fo/Kfegxhttps://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/04/panama-papers-investigation-four-men-charged-us