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  HOME | Central America

Raid at Mossack Fonseca Ends without Compelling Evidence

PANAMA CITY - Panama's Attorney General completed the raid at the offices of the Mossack Fonseca law firm without finding compelling evidence of crimes related to 'The Panama Papers' scandal.

Prosecutor Javier Caraballo, head of the Second Specialized Prosecutor Against Organized Crime office, told reporters that a massive amount of information gathered from over 100 servers was secured for review during the 27-hour-long raid.

Caraballo ruled out other precautionary measures or seizure of property after the raid which began on Tuesday and focused on collecting all information of the company for revision by the Attorney General.

"We do not have convincing evidence that allows us to take any kind of decision... Most company documents are digital. They barely have physical files," he explained.

"We are talking about a significant amount of information that must be analyzed in order to reach a conclusion," noted the prosecutor, referring to the documents from Mossack Fonseca.

Thousands of confidential documents from Mossack Fonseca were leaked through an international alliance of newspapers on Apr. 3, prompting Panama's Attorney General to announce the launch of an investigation to determine whether the company had committed any offenses by helping politicians, celebrities and companies from around the world to manage their assets outside the law and the tax authorities of their countries.

However, it took the Panamanian Attorney nine days to raid the company's offices, something which was criticized by spokesmen of various agencies such as the trade union.

Caraballo said Wednesday that "this type of search requires planning to be effective."

Five days after the alleged offenses were disclosed, Salvadoran authorities raided the branch office in El Salvador. Last Monday, the Peruvian tax agency conducted the same search in the company's office in Lima.

The leak from Mossack Fonseca includes 11.5 million documents spanning over nearly four decades of the Panama-based law firm specializing in the management of capital and assets, with information on more than 214,000 offshore companies in 200 countries and territories, according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) who led the research.

The Panamanian government argues that the so-called Panama Papers refer to a single law firm and not the entire country. It has announced that it will establish a committee of experts, among them the Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, to review financial and fiscal practices in the country.
 

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