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HomeTopicsLatin AmericaPanama Papers' Ramon Fonseca Dies Before Sentencing

Panama Papers’ Ramon Fonseca Dies Before Sentencing

Panamanian lawyer Ramon Fonseca, one of the heads of the now-defunct law firm Mossack Fonseca that was at the epicenter of the global “Panama Papers” scandal, died while awaiting sentencing in his money-laundering trial, his lawyer said Thursday.

During the night Fonseca “died while hospitalized”, said a member of his legal team, adding that the health concerns were “why he did not attend the trial” that opened on April 8. No further details were given about the cause of death of Fonseca, 71, who died in hospital in Panama City.

Documents leaked from Mossack Fonseca, which were published in 2016, revealed how many of the world’s wealthy stashed assets in offshore companies, triggering scores of investigations around the globe.

Prosecutors had requested a sentence of 12 years in prison for the firm’s two founders, Fonseca and his colleague Jurgen Mossack, whose money-laundering hearing ended on April 19.

The pair were on trial alongside more than two dozen others, mainly former employees. Fonseca did not attend the hearings. The prosecution accused Mossack and Fonseca of “concealing, covering up and providing false information to banks for the opening of accounts and concealing ownership of assets.” 

The pair was also alleged to have “received and transferred funds from illicit activities in Germany and Argentina.”  The trove of 11.5 million leaked files implicated influential figures including billionaires, politicians and sports stars.

Many of those caught up in the scandal put forward reasons to explain their offshore presence and said they did not act illegally. Even so, Mossack Fonseca said in 2018 that it would close due to “irreparable damage” to its reputation.

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