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Panama Papers scandal: 28 defendants acquitted

Eight years after 11 million secret financial documents were leaked, more than two dozen defendants were acquitted by a court in Panama Friday.

Prosecutors had been seeking prison sentences for money laundering.

The Panama papers scandal exposed a network of tax havens involving people like Lionel Messi and Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote to name but a few.

“According to Panamanian prosecutors, the Mossack Fonseca law firm and their associates created a web of offshore companies to hide money linked to illegal activities in the “car wash” corruption scandal of the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht,” xcxc

Some of the shell corporations set up by the firm had been used for fraud, tax evasion, or avoiding international sanctions.

READ ALSO: ‘Panama Papers’ tax fraud scandal: 18 Africans listed

Judge Baloisa Marquinez cited a lack of conclusive evidence on money laundering charges.

She found that evidence collected from the law firm’s servers had not been gathered in line with due process, raising doubts about its “authenticity and integrity”.

Mossack Fonseca was, at one poitn, the world’s fourth fourth-biggest offshore law firm.

In the aftermath of the scandal, Panama’s government notably made it possible to identify the ultimate beneficiary behind limited liability companies and their assets.

Based on a trove of 11.5 million files leaked to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared with International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the investigation exposed the offshore financial secrets of some of the world richest and most powerful public figures. The revelations triggered protests, government probes and the resignation of Iceland’s prime minister.

Source: Africanews.

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