As we go further and further into an analysis of the Panama Papers, one question is being asked, again and again: what about some of the dubious practices that the law firm of Mossack Fonseca engaged in. Do they constitute criminal acts, in the Republic of Panama, or in jurisdictions where these MF dodgy actions have an impact ?
While there are literally dozens of dirty tricks the Mossack firm engaged in, here are a couple of outrageous examples that should make your hair stand on end:
(1) To completely hide the identities of clients, the Mossack firm at times listed itself as the beneficial owner of some of its offshore corporations. Given that this is, by definition, not true, as the money in those companies' accounts belonged to wealthy clients, is this a crime, and where ?
(2) MF set up bogus email accounts, not related to the law firm, with anonymous names, and had their clients, also using aliases, communicate with them via this means. invented code names, and "nicknames," were used to hide client identities, even during telephone calls.
(3) Setting up Panamanian foundations strictly for tax evasion purposes. A foundation is supposed to have a charitable, or benevolent, purpose, and for that reason it has no owners per se. Is the intentional act of forming, and then employing a foundation for an illegal purpose itself a crime, and in what jurisdiction, that of the client, perhaps ?
(4) Giving the clients access to professional front-men, affiliated with MF, who pretended to be the actual beneficial owners, and were paid for their 'services." Was the use of MF relatives as front-men, by definition, a criminal conspiracy ?
Will MF partners Jurgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca ever stand in the dock, somewhere in a criminal case, to answer for their sins and transgressions ? We cannot say at the moment, but we will be watching.
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