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Panama Papers journalist killed

The murdered journalist

A JOURNALIST  who played a lead role in the Panama Papers investigation has been killed in a car bomb attack in Malta according to police.

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Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53,  a prominent blogger, was reportedly killed when the car she was driving exploded. She had accused the island’s government of corruption.

Local media say one of her sons heard the blast and rushed outside, reports the BBC

Prime Minister M Joseph Muscat, whom Caruana Galizia accused of wrongdoing earlier this year, denounced the killing.

“I condemn without reservations this barbaric attack on a person and on the freedom of expression in our country,” he said in a televised statement.

The Panama Papers Investigation team released files of Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca,  revealing details of scores of thousands of offshore companies created to avoid taxes or launder money. The company’s founders are out on bail in Panama, awaiting trial




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$1.2million Panama Papers murder reward nixed


The sons of a Malta journalist who was murdered after linking the Maltese Prime Minister to “Panama Papers” revelations have refused to endorse a $1.2 million reward. for evidence leading to a conviction in the case.

The sons of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s say they are “not interested in justice without change”

Galizia’s three sons have called for the country’s prime minister to resign  after  she was killed by a car bomb near   her home on the Mediterranean Island on Monday, October 19

The slain journalist, dubbed by Politico as a “one-woman-Wikileaks”, was a polarising figure in Malta and a thorn in the side of many across the political spectrum. Local politicians as well as businessmen,  local and foreign, had found themselves targets of her reporting.


Candlelight vigil

Thousands turned out for a candlelight vigil after the killing and expressions of condolence continue to flood social media. in reaction to her death.

In her 20 or so years of reporting, she uncovered political corruption and thuggery, banks that allegedly facilitated money laundering, as well as links between Malta’s online gaming industry and the Mafia.

Mossack Fonseca
Over the past two years, Caruana Galizia had largely focused her attention on the Panama Papers, a cache of 11.5 million documents from the internal database of the world’s fourth largest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca, revealing links to Maltese government politicians, most notably cabinet minister Konrad Mizzi reports Euronews

Her later claims that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s wife was the owner of a company in Panama which received vast payments from accounts in Azerbaijan had led to an early general election being called this year, which Muscat went on to win by a significant margin.

Pressure on sons
A Facebook post by Matthew Caruana Galizia, signed by his brothers Andrew and Paul, said they had faced “unrelenting pressure” from Malta’s leaders to “endorse” a million-euro reward

“A government and a police force that failed our mother in life will also fail her in death. The people who for as long as we can remember sought to silence our mother cannot now be the ones to deliver justice,” they said.

They took aim at Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and called for him to stand down. “Show political responsibility and resign. Resign for failing to uphold our fundamental freedoms,” they said.

The sons demanded he replace Malta’s police commissioner and attorney general “with public servants who won’t be afraid to act on evidence against him and those he protects”.


Malta mourns

After Caruana Galizia’s death, Muscat denounced the killing, calling it an attack “on the freedom of expression in our country”. Speaking to the BBC, he said the journalist was “a very harsh critic of mine” and described her killing as “a nightmare”.

Caruana Galizia’s popular blog had also targeted opposition politicians, calling the country’s political situation “desperate” in her final post says the BBC.



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10 arrested in Panama Papers linked murder

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POLICE  in Malta have arrested ten suspects in the murder of, a journalist who played a prominent role in the Panama Papers investigation.

Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53,  exposed political and police corruption on the island and its links to the Panama revelations.

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced eight of the arrests at a press conference on Monday,  when he said the detainees are being questioned on “reasonable suspicion” of involvement in the  October 16 car bombing of Caruana Galizia,  the Times of Malta reports.

The government subsequently tweeted that two more suspects were in police custody.

Police have 48 hours to interrogate the suspects and decide whether to prosecute.

Muscat said that all of the initial eight suspects are Maltese nationals and have criminal records or were known to the police, reports Malta Today online.

Caruana Galizia, was a “popular blogger who doggedly reported claims of corruption among leading politicians”, said Sky News.

Her car blew up after she left her home to go to her office. The Prime Minister who was one of her expose targets offered a $2 million reward for help in the investigation. Her sons rejected the offer.



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Panama Papers scandal firm closes doors around world

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Mossack Fonseca, the Panama law firm at the center of the Panama Papers revelations which reverberated around the world affecting political leaders sports and entertainment icons and thousands of businessmen is putting up the shutters in all of its offices.

Its founding partners remain under house arrest, and the company is still under investigation for alleged links to the Odebrecht bribery scandal.

The closure announcement was made on Wednesday, March 14.

TVN News reports that only 36  employees remain, of the 600 at work when the scandal broke.  They will be terminated this week and the offices will close by month’s end but will be accessible to investigating authorities.

Only 36 employees remain out of 600 who worked when the scandal broke and they will be terminated this week. The offices will remain accessible to the authorities.

The firm gained international notoriety  in April 2016, when the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), published the  called “Panama Papers revealing  how the wealthy  hid profits and assets offshore to avoid tax

The investigation, which included a  leak of millions of Mossack Fonseca confidential documents led to the law firm being the target of investigations by the Public  Ministry, in spite of close connections to President Juan Carlos Varela.

It  was also implicated in Latin America’s  biggest corruption plot the Brazilian corruption plot “Lava Jato.”

The firm founded by Jürgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca Mora in 1977, specialized in asset management, tax, international structures and commercial law.

Mossack Fonseca offered its services in the jurisdictions of the United Kingdom, Malta, Hong Kong, Cyprus, British Virgin Islands, Bahamas, British Anguilla, Seychelles, Samoa, Nevada and Wyoming (United States).



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I'm surprised the firm survived this long. The global notoriety ensured that clients would leave and no new ones would come. 

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This video from Panama Today is a terrific interview with an enthusiastic investigative journalist in Panama who worked on this case. She provides a summary of what happened, the consequences, and where it's going from here.


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Very informative. As long as the 1% are in charge and the masses remain silent nothing will change. Unfortunately!

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Panama Papers spark EU tax evasion moves

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Two years after the Panama Papers scandal, drew the attention of the world to the Isthmus and a thriving- now disappeared – law firm with close ties to the ruling administration, the European Union (EU) and others are better prepared to face fraud and tax evasion.

The EU has adopted numerous new regulations responding to the journalistic investigation which highlighted the magnitude of activities in tax havens, says an EFE News agency report.

On April 3, 2016, the journalistic investigation resulting from the massive filtering of documents brought to light the activities of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, that created  214,000  opaque companies operating in 200 countries or territories, as well as the participation of more than 500 banks and 140 politicians and other public figures.


Protesters following rel;ease of Panama Papers

The interest, indignation and public pressure that was awakened has been kept alive in the heat of new scandals like the paradise papers and with the recent murders of two journalists who investigated cases of corruption: the Maltese Daphne Caruana Galizia and the Slovakian Jan Kuciak.

The EU decided in 2016 to intensify its efforts to tackle these practices and the European Commission (EC) put on the table several proposals that were added to others already presented: many have been approved with unusual speed, but others remain in the pipeline. Just three months after the scandal of the Panama papers the countries approved the directive Against the Evasion of Capital (ATAD), with rules to prevent companies from transferring their profits to countries where they would not be taxed or that escape taxes by reallocating assets or deducting interest on loans between companies.

It will come into force next year and its objective is to tackle some of the most frequent tricks among companies, which manage to evade between $50, billion and $70, billion a   year, according to a study by the European Parliament.

In July 2016 the Commission also proposed amending the anti-money laundering directive to oblige companies to reveal the identity of their owners in a register accessible to the authorities taxpayers and the public, and to the countries to verify the data.

Last month the most recent initiative was approved: a rule that will force the advisors’ prosecutors -consultants, banks or lawyers, among others- to inform the authorities when designing plans that can help evade.

Both rules should take effect in 2020. However, the most talked-about measure has been the creation of the first community list of fiscal paradises

The EU published it last December with 17 countries which have been reduced to seven after some have committed to change their legislation: American Samoa, Bahamas, Guam, Namibia, the islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad, and Tobago and the US Virgin Islands.

More than 50 troubled countries committed to making legislative changes



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Moving in on key Panama Papers suspects

Protesters following rel;ease of Panama Papers
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Mossack Fonseca the former Panama Law firm behind the Panama Papers scandal that sent tidal waves throughout the world’s financial centers, engulfing, politicians, sports and entertainment celebrities and tax dodgers at large, is back in the focus of organized crime investigators.

Panama’sSecond Special Prosecutor’s Office against Organized Crime on Tuesday, May 22  announced that  it has carried out search and seizure proceedings, and is  investigating 10 accused, charged with alleged money laundering, as part of the investigation to establish the forensic  nexuses of Mossack Fonseca and the handling of money “of illicit origin” of Brazil.

A press release from the Public Prosecutor’s Office says that until now eight of the 10 accused have been located. “With the support of the security forces, we intend to find the whereabouts of the two accused who were not in their domicile, “says the official notice.

The investigation by The Second Specialized Prosecutor’s Office against Organized Crime under  Rómulo Bethancourt.is supported by the Office of the Brazilian  Federal  Prosecutor.

“The investigation is not directed against the professionals of the law nor at the good exercise of this profession. It is the elements gathered in the file that mark the line of our investigation. We act in accordance with the norm, without distinction of ethnicity, social position or profession to which those who act against the law are dedicated, “the entity said in its press release.

In the Mossack Fonseca-Lava Jato investigation, the central figures are Jürguen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca Mora, founders of the law firm; as well as Edison Teano, a collaborator of the law firm, and María Mercedes Riaño, who was in charge of the company in Brazil.



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11 in laundering probe

Mossack Fonseca, center of Panama Papers scandal
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Eleven new people are being investigated by  Organized  Crime prosecutors for money laundering related to research of Mossack Fonseca, the now closed law firm at the heart of the Panama Papers revelations.

Prosecutors are following the management of money “of illicit origin” from Brazil, a case known as Lava Jato, which organized bribery and pay-offs for Odebrecht.

Attorney Guillermina McDonald said that most of the people are collaborators within the firm Mossack Fonseca, and they were appointed as directors in some societies.

“Then the persecution continues against the whole world despite the fact that Mossack Fonseca has already closed its operations. Now they have persecuted all those who have served as members of this firm as collaborators

The lawyer rejects the accusations of the prosecution and at the same time said  that the Republic of Brazil does not know the limited companies as regulated by “our legislation “and that has been changing as a result of international pressure”

The prosecution ordered last Tuesday the arrest of lawyers Carlos Sousa Lennox, Rubén Hernández, Katia Solano, Maribel Robles, Josette Roquebert, Ernesto González and Luis Martínez

The prosecution has not been able to locate Sara Montenegro and Sandra Cornejo; Meanwhile he lawyer Ramses Owens could not be investigated for as he is convalescent in his residence, after a recent surgical intervention.

All those named were charged for alleged money laundering



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Mossack Fonseca did not know most of his clients when the scandal uncovered

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 21:26

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The Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which two years ago led the Panama paper scandal, "had no idea" of the majority of the clients to whom it helped to create shell companies to, allegedly, evade taxes, according to new documents released today.

Thousands of new documents of the law firm published today by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) show that in most cases, Mossack Fonseca did not know the final beneficiaries of its services, including celebrities worldwide, oligarchs and criminals.

After the scandal became known in March 2016, which ended up causing the closure of the Panamanian law firm this year, the employees of the firm "began to work furiously on a new mission: to discover who their clients were," said the ICIJ.

"The new documents reveal that the firm was unable to identify tens of thousands of owners of companies that had registered in secretive low tax jurisdictions," according to the Consortium.

"Two months after the firm knew of the violation of its records, it still could not identify the owners of more than 70 percent of the 28,500 active companies in the British Virgin Islands (...) and did not know who the holder of 75 percent of the 10,500 active companies in Panama was, according to the records," it added.

The ICIJ assured that Mossack Fonseca, who for decades failed to compy with the rules that require lawyers specialized in creating offshore companies to identify and verify their clients to prevent criminal activities, changed its priority.

"Suddenly, the daily business of establishing fictitious companies in tax havens was no longer the priority" of the law firm, whose employees began sending "frantically emails to bankers, accountants and lawyers" who served as intermediaries with their wealthy clients to find out who were behind.

"The company's lack of knowledge about who benefited from shell companies it helped establish represented a significant risk" for the law firm founded by Ramon Fonseca Mora and Jurgen Mossack, legally bound to know who their clients were.

"It should be unacceptable for a company like this to unknow the owner of a shell company, let alone thousands of them," US attorney Jack Blum, who specializes in tax fraud and money laundering, told ICIJ.

In an interview with the Consortium, Mossack Fonseca's lawyer, Guillermina McDonald, said this month that the firm considered its clients to be the lawyers, bankers and accountants who served as intermediaries, and not the end users.

This information is the result of a second leak of documents from Mossack Fonseca obtained by the ICIJ, just over two years after it opened the investigation of the so-called Panama papers and the ruin of the lawyers' company.

The publication of the papers hit personalities such as Argentine president Mauricio Macri; former British Prime Minister David Cameron; footballer Lionel Messi, members of the inner circle of Russian President Vladimir Putin, or the then Prime Minister of Iceland, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, who had to resign because of the scandal.

The company, founded in 1977 and considered at the time a leading player in the creation of offshore companies, had more than a thousand employees in dozens of offices around the world, but ended up shutting down on March 31.



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India opens new Panama Papers probe

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The Indian Ministry of Finance of India announced an “immediate” investigation of new Panama Papers revelations  and said that an examination of the texts revealed in 2016 has revealed about 144 million euros of “secret investments abroad” ”

“The publication today ( June 21) in the media of the ‘Panama Papers’ will be investigated immediately by government agencies” under the command of a working group made up of several public agencies, the ministry said in a statement.

The Government will study the new leakage published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) “within a reasonable period of time,” the statement said.

The ministry said it has so far investigated 74 taxpayers linked to the first batch of documents released in March 2016, detecting investments abroad without declaring worth about 11,400 million rupees (about 144 million euros).

According to the statement, the Indian Government has filed criminal complaints in 16 cases.

According to the local newspaper Indian Express, a collaborator with the ICIJ, at least 12,000 of the almost 1.2 million new documents published Thursday  are linked to Indian citizens.

The Panama Papers scandal of 2016 covers more than 11.5 million documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, specialized in capital management in tax havens.

The publication of the papers hit  personalities of like  Argentine president, Mauricio Macri; the former British Prime Minister David Cameron, the footballer Lionel Messi, members of the inner circle of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and  the then Prime Minister of Iceland, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, who had to resign because of the scandal.



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US Justice Department swoops on Mossack Fonseca quartet

Ramses Owens
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Mossack Fonseca, the Panama Law firm  whose principals were advisors to President Varela when the Panama Papers scandal erupted is back in the public eye with one of its local lawyers facing charges by the US Justice Department that could carry  a 70 -year sentence

Panamanian lawyer Ramses Owens Saad 50, Germans HJ (Harald Joachim) von der Goltz and Dirk Brauer and the American Richard Gaffey have been accused of electronic fraud, money laundering, fraud to evade taxes and “other crimes related to the roles they played in a criminal scheme carried out for decades by Mossack Fonseca (MF) ” the Department of Justice announced on Tuesday, December 4 .

The research is derived from the revelations of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), about the activities of the Panamanian firm.

Three of the four accused have been detained: Brauer, Von Der Goltz, and Gaffey, according to the Justice Department Owens  – remains “free” in Panama ” He faces five charges, which carry a sentence of up to 70 years in prison, according to the accusation filed by the District Attorney of the Southern District of New York.

The indictment of the prosecution mentions 11 charges; Owens is linked to five of them: conspiracy to defraud the United States; electronic fraud and conspiracy through electronic fraud; conspiracy to evade taxes, and money laundering. Owens, in conspiracy with Brauer, would have committed the acts between the years 2000 to 2017. Throughout the  17 years-Owens advised his Mossack Fonseca clients on how to evade the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS),

Von Der Goltz, 81 years old, was a client of Owens in Guatemala. Although of German nationality,  he resided in the United States, since his wife is American. He was arrested in London, on  Monday.

Gaffey, a 74-year-old US accountant, was arrested on Tuesday in Medfield, Massachusetts. While Brauer, who worked as an investment manager in Mossfon Asset Management, SA , affiliated with Mossack Fonseca, was arrested in Paris, on November 15.



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Meryl Streep to star in Panama Papers movie

Meryl Street in The Post
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Meryl Streep will star in “The Laundromat,” a drama directed by Steven Soderbergh on the Panama Papers scandal, that focused the eyes of the world on a local law firm close to the government says The Hollywood Reporter.

The announcement comes as the spotlight has returned to the now moribund Mossack Fonseca law firm with moves by the US Justice Department against four people, including a Panamanian lawyer involved in an international IRS tax avoidance plot which could incur sentences of 70 years behind bars.

Recent Oscar winner Gary Oldman and Spaniard Antonio Banderas are currently negotiating their participation in the project, the publication said.

The film will be screened by Scott Z. Burns, a regular contributor to Soderbergh, and will be based on Jake Bernstein’s book “Secrecy World: Inside the Panama Papers Investigation of Illicit Money Networks and the Global Elite.”

The Panama Papers is the name by given to the scandal that erupted in April 2016 over the alleged use of the ghost corporations sold by Mossack  Fonseca for the concealment in 21 tax havens of properties, profits, and evasion by personalities from the world of politics, finance, sports, and culture.

Streep, nominated in the last edition of the Oscars for her role in the newspaper drama “The Post”, will soon release the musical “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” and has “Mary Poppins Returns” by the end of the year.



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The Panama Papers begin to take their toll

Wed, 12/05/2018 - 21:45


This Tuesday the Panama Papers case revived from the US Justice Department, which through an official statement announced charges against four people related to this investigation, these being the first prosecutions of people involved in this investigation related to international money laundering.

Ramses Owens (Panamanian), Dirk Brauer (North American), Richard Gaffey and Harald von der Goltz (Germans) are the names mentioned in the case that will be brought in the court of the Southern District of New York, charged with wire fraud, tax fraud, money laundering, and other offenses related to their roles in the Panama-based law firm, Mossack Fonseca, company from which such crimes would have been committed.

"Law firms, asset managers and accountants play key roles enabling entry into the global financial system," Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski said in a statement.

"The charges announced today demonstrate our commitment to prosecute professionals who facilitate financial crimes across international borders and the tax cheats who utilize their services," he added.

This firm was responsible for creating "off shore" companies, with the purpose of tax evasion or hiding illicit money, activities in which these four citizens would be involved and in fact, only one of them, Ramses Owens, remains at large. Brauer (54 years old) was imprisoned in Paris on November 15, Von Der Goltz (81 years old) in London on December 3 and Gaffey (74 years old) in Massachusetts last Tuesday.

Initially Owens and Brauer are accused of having managed laundry and evasion between 2000 and 2017, when they took several of their clients to hide their income from the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS -CI). Von Der Goltz evaded his own accounts under the indication of Gaffey, Owens and Brauer, placing his mother as the sole owner of each fictitious company, so since she’s not a resident or taxpayer, is outside certain regulations.

Faced with the accusations received, those involved could add more than 50 years in prison: 20 for conspiracy to commit electronic fraud; 5 for conspiracy for tax evasion, 20 for electronic fraud, 20 for money laundering conspiracy, 10 for intentional failure to file a Foreign Bank Report and FBAR Financial Accounts and 5 years for false statements.

The IRS-CI, the Complex Fraud and Cybercrime Unit of the Office, the Transnational Criminal Companies Unit, together with the Asset Laundering and Asset Recovery Section of the Criminal Division, in charge of presenting the evidence and procedures to the court in charge of the case, currently handle this case.

This procedure in the Federal Court of Manhattan will be in charge of two groups, the first consisting of Sarah E. Paul, Thane Rehn, Kristy Greenberg and Andrew Adams (deputy lawyers), completed by Michael Parker and Parker Tobin (Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section).

Leaked in 2015, the Panama Papers represented millions of documents detailing financial and attorney-client information on offshore holdings or in tax havens that defrauded the US and other countries.

Named in the leak were 12 current or former world leaders, 128 politicians and public officials, and hundreds of celebrities, businessmen and other wealthy people from more than 200 countries.

The Panama Papers were the culmination of a year-long investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung and more than a hundred news organizations.

Late last month, Deutsche Bank's head office and other locations in Frankfurt, Germany, were registered as part of the Panama Papers investigation, as it is suspected that the German bank helped Mossak Fonseca's clients set up the offshore holdings.



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Mossack Fonseca  high roller arrested

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Lawyer  Ramsés Owens  a former top player in the Panama Papers scandal who has the potential threat of 70-years in jail hanging over his head, was arrested   in  Panama on Thursday, night December 6, as part of the investigation into the  defunct  Mossack Fonseca (MF) law firm  and the handling of money of illicit origin in Brazil, a in the  Lava Jato case.

Ramses Owens

Owens was already under investigation and had been favored with bail .. However, he never registered bail, and why the Second Prosecutor’s Office against Organized Crime ordered his provisional detention reports La Prensa.

In the twisted lava Jato – Mossack Fonseca saga   Jürgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca Mora, founders of the law firm were originally investigated along with  Edison Teano and María Mercedes Riaño, who was in charge of signing in Brazil. All of them are prevented from leaving the country, after being allowed bail.

This week, the US Department of Justice announced that Owens and three others are indicted in a Manhattan court for tax and electronic fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and other crimes related to the role played in a “criminal scheme”  perpetrated in Mossack Fonseca. for decades

Due to these facts, Owens faces a sentence of up to 70 years in prison.



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