On December 4, 2018, United States Federal prosecutors indicted four men in connection to the “Panama Papers” data breach first revealed in 2016. The four men were charged with tax fraud, money laundering, and other such crimes in relation to alleged tax evasion schemes through a Panamanian Law Firm called Mossack Fonseca.
The indictments are against a lawyer from the Mossak Fonseca law firm, an investor from Germany, an investment advisor from Germany, and an American accountant out of Boston. The indictment states that the men helped U.S. taxpayers evade taxes through international accounts and shell companies in the Virgin Islands, Panama, and Hong Kong, and gave guidance on bringing the money back to the U.S. without bringing attention to the IRS.
The “Panama Papers” was the largest data breach in history, with 2,600 GB of data leaked from Mossack Fonseca. The data was released by German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The data contained names, banks, shell companies, laundering schemes, etc. the majority of which dedicated to creating illegal tax havens for some of the most powerful people, including world leaders and corporate heads.
Mossack Fonseca denies any wrong doing.
This indictment is the second case of legal action taken because of the Panama Papers, the first being the German Raid on Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt on November 29, 2018.