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US prosecutors charge four linked to ‘Panama Papers’ case

Department of Justice. (Scott "Skippy"/Flickr)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

U.S. prosecutors have charged four people linked to the Panamanian law firm behind the Panama Papers, the massive leak of financial data and legal papers that highlighted a global scheme to evade U.S. taxes.

In a statement on December 4, federal prosecutors in Manhattan identified the four people as two Germans, one American, and one Panamanian citizen, and said that three of the four people had already been arrested.

That included Harald Joachim von der Goltz, a former U.S. resident and a client of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca & Co., who they said was arrested in London on December 3.

Another man was arrested in Paris last month and a U.S.-based accountant was arrested in Massachusetts on December 4. The fourth defendant was a lawyer at Mossack Fonseca and remains at large.

Prosecutors say Mossack Fonseca, which shut down earlier this year, conspired to circumvent U.S. tax laws to maintain its own wealth and that of its clients.

The four men named in the 11-count indictment face conspiracy and tax fraud charges.

The Panama Papers are a collection of 11 million secret documents that were first leaked to the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung. They were then shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which began publishing collaborative reports with news organizations in 2016.