Jurgen Mossack and Ramon Fonseca
A massive amount of records have been made public exposing the infamous Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca. Titled, the Panama Papers, explicitly show, how the tight lip firm, assisted its clients in shuffling money, while dodging sanctions and avoiding tax.
The law firm has been in hot waters for some time. According to Vice, for years, scattered news accounts and international investigations have pointed to Mossack Fonseca as one of the widest-reaching creators of shell companies in the world, but it has, until now, used an array of legal and accounting tricks that have allowed it and its clients to mostly fly under the radar.
On Sunday, everything changed. Reports say more than 11.5 million documents and implicating 72 current and former heads of state –were obtained by the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
Founded in Panama in 1977 by German-born Jurgen Mossack and a Panamanian man named Ramón Fonseca, a vice president of the country’s current ruling party, it later added a third director, Swiss lawyer Christoph Zollinger. Since the 70s the law firm has expanded operations and now works with affiliated offices in 44 countries, including the Bahamas, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Brazil, Jersey, Luxembourg, the British Virgin Islands, and—perhaps most troubling—the US, specifically the states of Wyoming, Florida, and Nevada.
So who are the men behind Mossack Fonseca? Here is what we know:
He was born Jurgen Mossack in Fürth, Bavaria, Germany on 20 March 1948. He would later move to Panama where he studied because of his father’s work as a CIA member.
Jurgen Mossack studied at the Santa Maria La Antigua University School of Law in Panama. According to Chambersandpartners.com, his practice areas include: corporate law, shipping and admiralty, banking, aviation, patent and trademarks, foreign investments, international law, trusts, private foundations, investment management.
Jurgen began his career in 1973 in Panama, two years later, he worked at a practice of Foreign Law in London. In 1977 he opened his own firm and by 1986 there was a merger with the law firm BUFETE FONSECA MORA.
Ramon Fonseca is an award-winning novelist and lawyer with ties to politics in Panama. He was born Ramon Fonseca Mora on July 14, 1952. The Panama native, now 63, worked at the United Nations headquarters in Switzerland before starting his law firm.
He attended the University of Panama where he studied political science and also went on to the School of Economcis and Political Science London.
In recent years, Ramon who –has written four novels, along with plays and short stories –has worked in recent years as an adviser to Panama’s president.
Accoridng to his blog, he is a two time winner of the Ricardo Miró Prize –a national literary award in Panama.
As a politician, he is the leader of the Panamenista party.