"Panama tax haven" will star in New York laundering trial

 
1,275Views 0Comments Posted 26/02/2020

The" Panama Papers "  which rocked financial centers around the world and Panama's international perception as a "tax haven" will play a key role in a criminal trial to begin next week in a New York said Federal judge Richard Berman, after two hearings on  Monday while Panama was partying.

In the dock will be Richard Gaffey, a co-defendant of Harald von der Goltzwjo pleaded guilty last week to having participated in a conspiracy to launder money and evade their taxes in the United States.

82-year-old Von der Goltzwjo will be sentenced on June 24 and could spend the rest of his life in jail.

But before that,  on March 5 Gaffey will face a jury trial for his part in the conspiracy.

The Prosecutor's Office of the Southern District of New York revealed that it will present some 300 documents of the so-called “Panama Papers” and that it will bring German officials to authenticate them.

Gaffey's defense lawyers protested that this evidence should be inadmissible because the alleged "Panama Papers" were "stolen by an unknown individual," a hacker who may have tampered with the documents.

In addition, Gaffey's defense requested that Judge Berman not allow prosecutors to refer to Panama, the British Virgin Islands and other jurisdictions as "tax havens" during the trial.

Prosecutors said they do intend to use that term and that they will submit communications between von der Goltz and Panamanian lawyer Ramsés Owens in which this term was used. Prosecutors particularly mentioned a presentation that, according to them, Owens made in London.

It is clear that prosecutors plan to submit emails, memoranda, invoices and other documents that circulated between the  former Panama law firm  Mossack Fonseca, Owens, Gaffey and von der Goltz

Another request of Gaffey's defense was that the term “shell companies” not be allowed to be used at trial.

Judge Berman reviewed these and other requests from  Gaffey's defense and denied them all. The "Panama Papers" will be admissible, as well as the phrases "tax haven" and "shell company".

At Monday's hearing, Judge Berman said that von der Goltz.s  sentence will be "fair and reasonable," based on factors such as the nature of the crimes, the history of the accused and the information presented by both sides. The usual guidelines for a case suggest a penalty of between 151 and 181 months in prison reports La Prensa.

On May 12 a hearing will be held before Judge Berman to clarify the amount of the tax evasion that von der Goltz has confessed since the sentence must consider a requirement that the defendant makes restitution. At Monday's hearings, figures between $1.5 million and $ 4.6 million for restitution were mentioned.

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