Ten months after the publication of the so-called “Panama Papers”, financial service provider Mossack Fonseca closed one of its offices in Luxembourg, just days before founders Jürgen Mossack and Ramon Fonseca Mora were arrested in relation to a corruption scandal.
According to the Luxembourg business registry the company “Mossack Fonseca S.à.r.l.” was dissolved on February 2, 2017. Mossack Fonseca is represented by two companies in Luxembourg, Mossack Fonseca S.à r.l. and Mossfon Luxembourg S.à r.l. The latter has been the “official” office of the firm in Luxembourg since March 2009 and continues to exist.
After the “Panama Papers” revelations the firm did close its offices in various British tax havens such as Jersey, Isle of Man and Gibraltar.
Mossack Fonseca justified this as being part of a strategy to “consolidate the office network”. Nevertheless, the company’s services would continue to be available to “all” customers, the Panamanian company said in a statement.
Mossack Fonseca had 44 offices worldwide. The company was founded in 1977 by Jürgen Mossack as “Jürgen Mossack Lawfirm”. In 1986 Mossack joined forces with Ramon Fonseca Mora.
The law firm came to notorious fame worldwide in April 2016 after an international network of investigative journalists had reported on more than 200,000 letterbox companies founded by the law firm, in which politicians, athletes and celebrities allegedly to have parked their assets. The revelations led to investigations around the world and a renewed debate on tax havens and money laundering.
The closure of the office in Luxembourg came days before founders Ramon Fonseca Mora and Jürgen Mossack were being held as part of a probe into a sprawling graft case involving Brazilian construction group Odebrecht.
They were put in preventive detention late Thursday by Panamanian authorities, one of their attorneys said. Chief prosecutor Kenia Procell said the law firm was suspected of money-laundering and forming “a criminal organization that sought to hide assets and money of doubtful origin.”