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Panama Papers fallout: DOJ charges four with fraud



Mossack Fonseca & Co. of Panama Papers
security guard stands outside the building housing global law
firm Mossack Fonseca & Co., which was the subject of the
Panama Papers.


  • The US Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed Tuesday that four
    people had been charged with fraud and other crimes following an
    investigation into the Panama Papers released in 2016.
  • Those charged included an accountant, investment manager, a
    client, and a lawyer.
  • Three of the four have been arrested. 

Over two years after the
release of the Panama Papers
revealed that a coterie of
powerful people (including some politicians) had hired a
Panamanian law firm to avoid personal and business taxes, the US
Department of Justice has
revealed an indictment
against four individuals for charges
that include wire fraud, tax fraud, money laundering, and
other offenses.

Three of the four — Richard Gaffey of Massachusetts, Dirk
Brauer of Germany, and Harald Joachim Von Der Goltz of Germany —
have already been arrested. Ramses Owens of Panama is seemingly
still at large. 

Read more:

Son of slain Panama Papers journalist rages against
politicians: ‘This is what war looks like’

Gaffey of Medfield, Massachusetts (the lone American named)
was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit tax evasion,
one count of wire fraud, one count of money laundering
conspiracy, and four counts of willful failure to file an FBAR
(an IRS form required for high-value foreign

Brauer was reportedly an investment manager at Mossfon
Asset Management, S.A., which the DOJ says worked closely with
Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. 

Information about Von Der Goltz and Owens was not immediately

“Law firms, asset managers, and accountants play key roles
enabling entry into the global financial system,” Assistant
Attorney General Brian Benczkowski said in a statement. “The
charges announced today demonstrate our commitment to prosecute
professionals who facilitate financial crime across international
borders and the tax cheats who utilize their services.”

According to the DOJ and the Panama Papers, the subjects of
the suit used Mossack Fonseca to create a series of shell
companies that were used to conceal their wealth and avoid

Owens and Brauer allegedly set up offshore accounts for
clients of Mossack Fonseca to hide wealth.

Von Der Goltz was allegedly a client of Mossack Fonseca and
reportedly used its services while living in the US and paying US
taxes, making him vulnerable to the charges.

Gaffey, an accountant, allegedly helped connect Von Der
Goltz and Owens, and assisted in connecting another client,
called “client-1” in the DOJ release, to Mossack

The Panama Papers famously showed evidence that this
strategy was used by leaders such as Iceland’s former prime
Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson

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