Conspiracy and financial crimes charges against 4 men in Panama Papers investigation

Conspiracy and financial crimes charges against 4 men in Panama Papers investigation
In this April 4, 2016 file photo, a marquee of the Arango Orillac Building lists the Mossack-Fonseca law firm, in Panama City. (Source: AP)

(RNN) - Four men have been charged with a range of crimes in an 11-count indictment stemming from a federal Panama Papers investigation, according to the Associated Press.

The AP reported the charges include conspiracy, wire fraud, tax evasion and money laundering. One American, one Panamanian and two Germans were charged.

The Panama Papers were a vast trove of records and documents released in 2016 that exposed the off-shore financial dealings of scores of rich and powerful figures from around the world.

The leak included 11.5 million documents in all, from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which facilitated dizzying webs of shell companies, offshore accounts and other business structures to obscure their clients’ wealth and, in many cases, avoid tax bills in their home countries.

It led to the downfall of leaders in Iceland and Pakistan and implicated people in the families and inner circles of men as powerful as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

It even ensnared soccer superstar Lionel Messi.

They also revealed how a number of individuals such as Mexican drug lords and companies doing business with states like North Korea evaded U.S. sanctions. The Obama White House credited the Panama Papers with bringing “the issues of illicit financial activity and tax evasion into the spotlight.”

And in November, Germany’s largest bank, Deutsche Bank, had its Frankfurt headquarters raided as part of a money laundering investigation that originated from Panama Papers revelations.

Tuesday’s indictment concerns a tax evasion scheme going back 18 years, according to the AP.

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