Authorities Swoop on Mossack Fonseca Again
- Author: Leroy Wright Feb 12, 2017,
Feb 12, 2017, 8:20
Prosecutors in Panama have arrested the partners of a law firm involved in last year's Panama Papers scandal in which thousands of documents related to offshore accounts were leaked.
Ramon Fonseca, a partner at Mossack Fonseca, denied that his firm had a connection to Odebrecht [ODBES.UL], which has admitted to bribing officials in Panama and other countries to obtain government contracts in the region between 2010 and 2014.
On Thursday, prosecutors raided Mossack Fonseca offices seeking evidence, and the homes of the firm's founders were searched on Friday.
Mossack Fonseca had already garnered notoriety after emerging at the center of an global scandal following the release of the so-called "Panama Papers" past year.
"President Varela told me - may lightning strike me if I lie - that he had accepted donations from Odebrecht because he couldn't fight everyone", Fonseca said.
The Panamanian attorney general's office said that 17 people are facing money laundering charges connected to Odebrecht, but have not made any arrests, released any names, or made the charges public.
In December, the Brazilian construction company agreed with the US Justice Department to pay a world record $3.5-billion fine after admitting it paid $788 million in bribes to win fat construction contracts in 12 countries.
Mossack Fonseca's attorney, Elias Solano, said there was a "lack of evidence" supporting the allegations. Panama Papers consisted of leaks of 11.5 million files from the database of the Mossac Fonesca, world's fourth biggest offshore law firm.
Fonseca also accused Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela of directly receiving money from Odebrecht, Latin America's largest engineering company. This news story is related to Print/185535-Panama-Papers-lawyers-held-in-Brazil-graft-probe/ - breaking news, latest news, pakistan ne.