Ramón Fonseca of Panama Papers Fame, Died in Hospital

1,576Views 0Comments Posted 14/05/2024

Ramón Fonseca, the co-founder of the law firm that was at the center of the leak of the "Panama Papers" died in hospital due to health problems while awaiting sentencing in the trial for the scandal that shocked the world in 2016.  Ramón Fonseca was minister advisor in the government of Juan Carlos Varela (2014-2019). Fonseca, who was 71, was one of nearly 30 people who went on trial last month on charges related to the "Panama Papers."  The leak of confidential documents exposed how some of the richest and most powerful people in the world hid their wealth in tax havens. 
Carolina Fonseca, niece of the Panamanian lawyer, confirmed his death on the social network X. "It is with deep regret that I share the sad news of the death of our beloved uncle Ramón Fonseca," she wrote. "His presence and his fascinating theories accompanied us in this network. Rest in peace, dear uncle, you will always live in our hearts."  Fonseca and Jurgen Mossack, with whom he founded the law firm Mossack & Fonseca in the 1970s, were accused of money laundering following the leak of documents.  Both denied the accusations.  Fonseca and his co-defendants were awaiting a verdict after the trial and, if found guilty, could have faced up to 12 years in prison. He was not present at the Panama court where the trial took place in April because he was in the hospital, according to his lawyers.

In addition to working as a lawyer, Fonseca was a minister in the government of former Panamanian president Juan Carlos Varela, but left his position in 2016.  He also stood out as a novelist and wrote, among other works, "The Dance of the Butterflies" (1994) and "Soñar con la ciudad" (1998).  The Panama Papers were a collection of 11 million financial documents that implicated more than a hundred politicians, including heads of state and government, billionaires and sports stars.  They also revealed how they used tax havens such as Panama and the British Virgin Islands to supposedly hide their wealth and evade taxes.  The records were first leaked to German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in 2016.  The Mossack & Fonseca law firm closed in 2018, due in part, according to the firm, to the financial and reputational damage caused by the leak.