Prosecutor’s Office Requests Conviction of 28 of 32 Defendants in Panama’s “Lava Gato” Money Laundering Case By EFE

© Reuters. The Public Prosecutor’s Office requests the conviction of 28 of the 32 defendants in the “Lava Gato” money laundering case in Panama.

Panama City, June 30 (.). – The attorney general’s office on Friday requested the conviction of 28 people and the acquittal of four collaborators of the extinct Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, epicenter of the Panama Papers scandal, in the trial in the “Lava Gato” case involving 32 defendants accused of money laundering, according to local media and the judicial branch (OJ). ).

The second prosecutor specialized in combating organized crime, Isis Soto, explained the degree of participation of the 24 defendants, the requests for judgment for each one, and asked the second liquidation judge, Baloisa Marquinez, who is presiding over this trial, to judge 20 of them and acquit four.

Soto had already on Thursday requested sentencing for the two owners and two partners of the law firm, the person who ran the company’s subsidiary in Brazil, and the lawyer who was in charge of clients’ bank accounts abroad.

After the prosecution participated, the defense pleadings phase began, with attorney Guillermina MacDonald, who represents five defendants, including the owners and partners of the law firm that was investigated.

MacDonald argued that the Public Prosecution Service (MP) had not presented compelling evidence, which is why he asked the judge to acquit his clients.

From Brazil to Panama

Jurgen Mossack and Ramon Fonseca, co-founders of the missing law firm that was at the center of the Panama Papers scandal, pleaded not guilty Monday to the crime of money laundering at the start of the trial in the “Lava Gato” case, with a minimum prison sentence of 5 years.

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Both are part of the 32 defendants accused of alleged money laundering, which according to Article 254 of the Penal Code of Panama carries a penalty of imprisonment from 5 to 12 years, in addition to aggravating factors.

The investigation into this case began in 2016 “due to news events related to the ‘Lava Jato’ operation in Brazil, which allegedly linked a Panamanian law firm dedicated to corporate creation,” the judicial branch said.

The Organized Crime Prosecutor’s Office confirms that Mossack Fonseca allegedly “provided legal and financial structures to hide money from illegal activities” linked to “Lava Jato” in Brazil.

In the session that began on Monday, June 26, 15 pieces of evidence were presented.

The witnesses were cross-examined by the lawyers involved in this trial, the representatives of the deputy, and the two prosecutors specializing in the fight against organized crime, Octavio Nicolau and Marcos Mosquera.

In June 2022, Marquinez, who was then President of the Third Settlement Court, issued “temporary dismissal in favor of 39 persons, and final dismissal of another” in the “Lava Jato” case.

But last October, a higher court overturned the dismissal and filed criminal charges against 32 people in response to an appeal by the deputy.

All the defendants in this case pleaded not guilty, and their advocates appealed the arguments of the judicial decision that ordered the dismissal in the first instance.

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