The Eighteenth Criminal Court has admitted a request to close the investigation of the founders and a director of the defunct law firm Mossack Fonseca (MF) for its possible connection with the Lava Jato operation in Brazil.
In addition to admitting the closure of the investigations, judge of the case, Baloisa Marquínez, imposed a period of four months for the Second Prosecutor’s Office against Organized Crime, to complete the preliminary investigation.
The petition was made by lawyer Guillermina McDonald representing Jürguen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca Mora, founders of the firm, and Edison Teano, who served as manager of the firm which is at the center of the Panama Papers scandal involving sports and entertainment personalities, politicians and businessmen around the world seeking to avoid taxes,
María Mercedes Riaño, who represented Mossack Fonseca in Brazil, is also under investigation in the process reports La Prensa.
In February 2017, when the prosecutor’s office ordered the investigations, Attorney General Kenia Porcell explained that the process was uninitiated as a result of phase 22 of the Lava Jato operation in Brazil, in which Brazilian prosecutors investigated local construction firms that would have paid bribes with real estate says La Prensa Those properties were in the name of corporations created in Panama by the MF firm, she said. Another central player was the Odebrecht construction company which confessed to distributing hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to obtain contracts throughout Latin America including Panama where over $87 Million was handed out, and where the company has received contracts from the State and Panama city totaling some $5 billion.
Investigations into Mossack Fonseca alleged money laundering activities are ongoing and one of the company’s erstwhile lawyers. Ramses Owens, recently released from preventive detention in Panama, is a central suspect in a United States money laundering probe.