AG questions bail decision in MF case

Ramón Fonseca and Jürgen Mossack were released from jail Friday on $500,000 bonds.


Several MF lawyers have been charged with money laundering. Several MF lawyers have been charged with money laundering. Expandir Imagen
Several MF lawyers have been charged with money laundering. Archivo

The decision of the Second High Criminal Court to grant bail to Ramón Fonseca and Jürgen Mossack, founding partners of Mossack Fonseca (MF), is being questioned by the Attorney General's (AG) Office.

Prosecutors said the information they provided to the court on the allegations the men were involved in a scheme to launder money from Brazil to Panama was strong enough to keep them detained.

AG General Secretary Rolando Rodríguez Cedeño said that there is no reason the court has provided on why it overturned a decision of the lower court on Feb. 23 to deny the defendants bail.

"This decision of the Second Court surprises us because of the evidentiary strength of the case, as a result of the reports obtained by the prosecutors," said Rodríguez. 

He indicated that the ruling of judges José Ho Justiniani and María Cecilia Rodríguez does not value the evidence provided by the prosecutors. 

Last week, Attorney General Kenia Porcell announced that there would be new defendants in this process, after the investigation was strengthened due to information obtained from Brazil's Second Prosecutor against Organized Crime. 

Guillermina McDonald, a lawyer for Fonseca and Mossack, confirmed that her clients each posted the $500,000 bail Friday and were released. 

Both were detained since Feb. 9 in a cell at the National Police Headquarters in Ancon. 

Maria Mercedes Riaño, head of the Mossack Fonseca office in Brazil, remains in custody. It is not known if she will apply for bail as her lawyer could not be reached for comment

On Feb. 15, Riaño said that Fonseca Mora and Mossack were aware of the maneuvers carried out by the firm in Brazil, something the partners have denied.

Mossack Fonseca is identified in phase 22 of the anti-corruption operation Lava Jato - conducted by Brazilian prosecutors - which exposed the alleged diversion of funds from Brazil's state oil company Petrobras for the payment of bribes through the purchase of property.

The firm Mossack Fonseca is the subject of another investigation for alleged money laundering, which is being advanced by the Second Prosecutor against Organized Crime.


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