Saturday 1 April 2023

Mossack-Fonseca Co-Founder Breaks Silence on Panama Papers

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Offices of the Mossack Fonseca law firm in Panama City's financial district. Photo: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg News
Offices of the Mossack Fonseca law firm in Panama City’s financial district. Photo: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg News

Q24N (Prensa Latina) The lawyer Jürgen Mossack, co-founder of law firm Mossack-Fonseca, broke his silence after the global scandal that led to obtaining records of corporations created by his firm.

“We will not suspend our services to go to plant bananas. People make mistakes. We also, as well as our Compliance Department. But that’s not the rule, “Mossack told The Wall Street Journal, from his office in the capital area of Marbella.

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The Panama Papers: Victims of Offshore. The Panama Papers is a global investigation into the sprawling, secretive industry of offshore that the world’s rich and powerful use to hide assets and skirt rules by setting up front companies in far-flung jurisdictions.

“Our brand needs to be protected. We feel that the best way for that is to do things ourselves and not depend on others, “he added, according to the source.

Sara Montenegro, Director of Legal Affairs of the firm, also spoke to the WSJ without mentioning nothing serious of the international accusations about the alleged conduct of the firm by selling companies allegedly used for criminal purposes.

“The only crime that has been tested is the violation of privacy”, Montenegro complained about the removal of the files.

Panamanian Attorney Porcell Kenya, told reporters that in mid-March, the office filed a complaint about the removal of documents from its databases, whose research said that is advanced.

Prensa Latina spoke with one of the members of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) who participates in research papers Panama, and has access to documents under tight security.

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“Both in public and in private, two journalists from the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, explained that received the records of someone whose identity was not revealed and decided to share it with ICIJ, but everything has been confused to explain this,” said the journalist under commitment of anonymity, an obligation he assumed in a contract.

“The way we work is that everyone searches in the millions of records what interests the media for which they work, tracking keywords, because the information is not sorted by categories or countries,” said the source.

The ICIJ investigation is collective and what it contains and analyzes is shared with us, he said, but then everyone focuses on their interests. The search is handcrafted and through words that come to mind, for example a name, without a predetermined guide, he added.

“Perhaps there are things that were not seen now and in five years from now could be a bomb,” he predicted and explained that among the security measures for the participants in the research are the work on a private platform with very rigid rules of authentication of users and their passwords.

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The anonymous source acknowledged that “perhaps it was a mistake to put Panama Papers” to the investigation, because of the implications it has had on the country.

Meanwhile, ICIJ rejected accusations of WikiLeaks that the work was coordinated by the Report Project Organized Crime and Corruption (OCCRP), and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Soros Fund.

But the website of the institution recognizes as donors the Open Society Foundations, whose chairman is billionaire and American financial speculator George Soros, and the Ford Foundation, based in New York, and also the foundations of the Rockefeller Brothers and the Rockefeller Family.

The ICIJ functions as a club that only comes at the invitation of those who already participate, according to one its members, the Argentine Hugo Alconada, who said that this does not mean one will be called to all inquiries.

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