The Panama-based offshore law firm Mossack Fonseca stated that it will close by the end of the month, according to a statement from the firm obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
The closure comes nearly two years after Mossack was rocked by hundreds of reports published by the ICIJ and other outlets on the “Panama Papers,” a trove of more than 11.5 million documents leaked from Mossack that allegedly show the firm being involved in money laundering and other illegal activity.
“The reputational deterioration, the media campaign, the financial siege and the irregular actions of some Panamanian authorities have caused irreparable damage, whose obligatory consequence is the total cessation of operations to the public,” the firm reportedly stated.
Mossack Fonseca added that it would “continue to call for justice” and would cooperate with authorities to “demonstrate that no crime has been committed,” according to the ICIJ.
The Panama Papers reportedly contain information on more than 214,000 offshore entities tied to 12 current or former heads of state, 140 politicians and others. The stories published on the files led the resignations of Iceland Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the arrests of Mossack Fonseca founders on money laundering charges, and investigations in a number of other jurisdictions.
By the end of 2016, at least nine Mossack Fonseca offices, including one in the United States, had closed. In the British Virgin Islands – where about half of the companies found in the Panama Papers were incorporated – the BVI Financial Services Commission fined the firm US$440,000 for failing to comply with anti-money laundering rules and other regulations, the largest fine the territory’s regulator has ever levied.
The Cayman Islands, for its part, only played a minor role in the data leak.
Of the 214,000 offshore companies set up by Mossack Fonseca, none was incorporated in the Cayman Islands and only 104 had any link to Cayman. In almost all of these cases, the companies, although incorporated elsewhere, provided a Cayman Islands contact address or were set up on the instruction of a Cayman-based intermediary.
In addition to 104 entities connected with the Cayman Islands, there were 32 Cayman intermediaries linked to entities set up by Mossack Fonseca. Cayman companies, service providers and individuals are named about 600 times as officers of entities created by the Panama law firm.
In the international context, this means Cayman’s role in the Panama Papers was relatively benign as far as volume is concerned. Mossack Fonseca worked with intermediaries in more than 100 countries.