It was February 2017, amid the aftershocks of the release of the Panama Papers, those name partners Jurgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca Mora were arrested, on money laundering charges. However, two years later, the investigation is incomplete, and there's no sign the case will ever go to trial.
How can this happen, you ask ? Well, Panama's bribe-centred criminal court system encourages wealthy defendants to lay bribes and illegal gifts upon prosecutors, clerks, and especially judges and their secretaries. Many criminal cases never go to trial, and victims often wait a decade or more before giving up completely. The Mossack case is frozen, and apparently, even the international shame of the publication of the Panama Papers is sufficient to load a corrupt system into seeing that justice is done.
Panama's President Varela recently condemned the European Union (EU) for placing the Republic on its money laundering blacklist; perhaps he should correct his country's failure to arrest, let along indict and convict, its money laundering banks and laundrymen. If he reforms his judicial system, perhaps then Panama will lose its tax haven/money laundering destination reputation.
Chronicles of Monte Friesner - Financial Crime Analyst
Contributed by Kenneth Rijock - Financial Crime Consultant