German prosecutors have issued international arrest warrants for one of the founders of the law firm based in Panama behind the foreign tax fraud exposed by the so-called Panama Papers leak.
Mossack Fonseca founders, Juergen Mossack and Ramon Fonseca, who are suspected of tax evasion and links to criminals, will be arrested if they enter the European Union, German newspaper southgerman newspaper reported.
Cologne prosecutors confirmed they had issued international arrest warrants for the two people but refused to provide further information.
Mossack and Fonesca hold Panamanian passports and are currently on a Caribbean island, which has no extradition treaty, the newspaper said.
But investigators hope Mossack, who has family in Germany, can surrender to officials to negotiate reduced sentences and avoid US accusations.
The 2016 Panama Papers leak includes a collection of 11 million classified financial documents taken from law firm Mossack Fonseca.
The documents show how some of the richest people in the world hide their money in shell companies – some of it used for illegal purposes.
At least 150 investigations have opened in 79 states to examine potential tax evasion or money laundering, according to the American Center for Public Integrity.
Luxembourg’s tax authorities are in the process of analyzing a collection of documents related to the disclosure of the Panama Papers.
Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna confirmed Thursday that Germany had supplied Luxembourg with “a large number of documents” related to the tax evasion scandal. Gramegna made the remarks in response to parliamentary questions after it emerged that German authorities had transferred a similar file to Belgium.
Mossack and Fonseca, former presidential advisers, founded their eponymous law firm in 1986. The company expanded its operations to 40 countries and territories, from China to Uruguay, before shutting down in 2018 as a result of the Panama Papers investigation.
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