“Panama Papers”: Defendants acquitted in financial scandal


Lerato Khumalo

The financial scandal was the biggest in history. But surprisingly, the 28 defendants were acquitted. The evidence was apparently insufficient.

Eight years after the revelation of the global financial scandal of the “Panama Papers,” the 28 defendants were surprisingly acquitted, including the German-born lawyer Jürgen Mossack. The court in Panama City announced this on Friday. In addition, the responsible judge Baloísa Marquínez ordered the discontinuance of the criminal proceedings against the now deceased Ramón Fonseca Mora.

When collecting evidence from the servers of the now-defunct law firm Mossack Fonseca, the chain of evidence was not comprehensible. The remaining evidence was also not sufficient or conclusive, the judge ruled.

The defendants were accused of money laundering by setting up 215,000 shell companies in tax havens in which politicians, celebrities and athletes are said to have concealed their assets.

In spring 2016, the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” and other media from the network of investigative journalists (ICIJ) exposed the business dealings of the letterbox companies founded in Panama. A huge data leak had given the newspaper access to 11.5 million documents. Almost 400 reporters from more than 80 countries took part in the research.