Millions of confidential client documents were stolen from the trust and company service provider in April 2016 and released to the press, triggering a media campaign that led to reputational deterioration and raids on its offices by Panamanian authorities.
At least 150 investigations were opened in 79 countries to examine possible tax evasion and money laundering, according to the US-based Center for Public Integrity.
Founded in 1977 by the German lawyer Jürgen Mossack, it was the world’s fourth-biggest provider of offshore services at the time the scandal erupted. Mossack was joined by the Panamanian lawyer Ramón Fonseca and a third director, the Swiss lawyer Christoph Zollinger, was later added.
Until the publication of the Panama Papers, it had been mostly obscure despite sitting at the heart of the global offshore industry and acting for about 300,000 companies. More than half were registered in British tax havens, as well as, in the UK.
Last month, Panamanian prosecutors raided the offices of Mossack Fonseca, seeking possible links to Odebrecht, Latin America’s largest engineering company. The Brazilian construction firm has admitted to bribing officials in Panama and other countries to obtain contracts in the region between 2010 and 2014.
Ramón Fonseca denied last month that his firm had a connection to Odebrecht, while accusing the Panamanian president, Juan Carlos Varela, of directly receiving money from Odebrecht. Varela has denied that he took any money from Odebrecht.
A few staff will continue to be employed to comply with requests from authorities and others.
Read more at: Tax Times blog