The files were leaked to a German newspaper, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, which shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

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.

Panama has adopted new legislation since the scandal broke out, but the Central American country remains on a European Union tax haven blacklist.

The fact that part of its laws against money laundering did not exist when the Panama Papers revelations emerged could complicate efforts by the judiciary to achieve convictions.

In Panama, the crime of tax evasion has only been punishable since 2019 and for amounts greater than US$300,000 annually.

In 2023, Mossack and Fonseca were tried in Panama for alleged money laundering in Brazil’s “Car Wash” corruption scandal involving construction group Odebrecht.

The prosecution requested up to 12 years in prison for both in that case. The sentence has not yet been announced.

The latest trial is expected to run until Apr 26, according to the judiciary.


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