Fugitive lawyer sought as first Panama Papers sentence could mean life

Ramses Owens under house arrest

895Views 0Comments Posted 19/02/2020

The first person convicted in the Mossack Fonseca  (Panama Papers) scandal could die in jail. while US authorities turn their eyes to a lawyer currently under  house arrest in Panama   for his involvement in another corruption case

In  a US federal court, Harald Joachim von der Goltz pleaded guilty on February 18 to having participated in conspiracies to evade taxes and launder money and  to not properly informing the US authorities of his finances and making false statements to the authorities

 Von der Goltz,82 is exposed to a possible maximum sentence of 75 years in prison plus several million dollars in fines and confiscations.

The  sentencing judge will have discretion as to the penalty he imposes, but there is a possibility that Von der Goltz will spend the rest of his days in prison. The prosecutors have  already informed him in writing that the probable penalty is between 151 and 181 months, according to sentencing  guidelines “for a case like yours "

This is the first case linked to the “Panama Papers” scandal resulting in a conviction in the United States, and the name of the extinct  Panama firm Mossack Fonseca is repeatedly listed in the more than 60 pages of the prosecution, as well as the name of the  Panama lawyer Ramses Owens, who worked in the firm. But Von Der Goltz did not mention them by name during his guilty confession. He simply said that, with the goal of evading taxes in the United States, "I committed these acts alone and with the assistance of my lawyers."

Von der Goltz is a citizen of Germany and Guatemala, not American. However, his status as a resident of the United States required him to pay taxes and meet all financial requirements there, even if it was income earned in other parts of the world.

Apart from sentencing Von der Goltz on February 24, the next step in the case will be the prosecution of Dirk Brauer and Richard Gaffey, accused of having participated in the conspiracies with Von der Goltz.

Ramses Owens is another co-defendant. Despite not having been mentioned by name during the hearing, The Department of Justice, confirmed to that all charges against  Owens are in effect and that his status as a “fugitive”

His team of defenders in the United States argues that Owens has not been able to appear before the US courts to defend himself against the accusations because in Panama there is against him an impediment to leave the country.

The PanamaSupreme declared legal the precautionary measure of house arrest imposed on Ramsés Owens, as part of the investigation carried out by the Seventh Anti-Corruption Prosecutor for alleged money laundering through the Jal Offshore company .

This investigation began on the basis of a complaint filed before the Public Prosecutor on June 22, 2015 by the Superintendence of the Securities Market, which detected alleged anomalies in transactions carried out by the Jal Offshore company through the former Financial Pacific  securities house (FP) , between 2010 and 2013.

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