Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

MOSSACK FONSECA, STILL OPERATING, SAYS 250 EMPLOYEES HAVE BEEN TERMINATED

Mossack and Fonseca
The Panama City law firm of Mossack and Fonseca, its lead partners in custody, and its money laundering, tax evasion and corruption assisting operations exposed to the world in the Panama Papers, has announced that it has let go a total of 250 of its employees and staff members. Originally listed at 500 on staff, it is not known how many remain, as there have been a large number of resignations, especially by the attorneys working there. Former Mossack lawyers, who may have taken dodgy MF clients with them when they left the firm, are known to be under investigation.

The question remains: why is this firm still operating ? Do not Panamanian authorities have sufficient evidence to close it down permanently ? The possible reasons:

(1) Name partner Ramón Fonseca Mora was an adviser to Panama's President Varela, and he may have first-hand knowledge of corruption at the highest level. Is the delay in filing major criminal charges, due, in part, to Mora's ability to severely embarrass the present government ?

(2) There is, in essence, no disciplinary system in place in Panama for attorneys, and there may be no appropriate method for closing down a law firm, even if its partners are convicted of crimes. Lawyers have been known, in Panama, to return to the practice of law, after serving a prison term, with no interference from any regulatory authority. While you may find this absurd, it is completely normal in Panama.

Panama insiders advise that the MF employees are only "on leave" from their jobs, and they have been told they will be recalled. Given Sr. Fonseca's influence with the government, many in Panama are pessimistic, and believe that the MF partners will be acquitted of all charges, if they are even indicted, due to the rampant corruption in the country's court system.

Needless to say, the longer that Mossack Fonseca is allowed to form opaque corporations and trusts, in Panama, the BVI, Belize, and elsewhere, the country will continue to have a very visible black eye, visible to the global financial community. This means that new business, especially from foreign sources, will continue to decline, which will affect the Panamanian economy in a negative way, and affect Country Risk assessments accordingly.

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