There has been much talk about the thousands of sealed indictments from the DOJ. I have not reported on them simply because I had no concrete information about what was inside them – only that there are a lot of them and the number keeps growing. I didn’t want to speculate. I was hoping, like everyone else, the indictments were for some of the significant “Deep State” players, but I couldn’t be sure. Today, I found on Justice.gov that one of the indictments has been unsealed. I thought I would go over the contents and what it means here.
The indictment can be found on the Justice.gov site and is officially styled:
This is actually involving participants in the Panama Papers. You can find more information on this, from the website of the United States Attorneys, or the DOJ Justice.gov site.
According to the DOJ press release dated December 4, 2018, this indictment “Charges Four Defendants for Their Roles Global Law Firm’s Decades-Long Scheme to Defraud the United States in Panamanian-Based”.
The four defendants listed in the indictment are Ramses Owens, Dirk Brauer, Richard Gaffey, and Harald Joachim Von Der Goltz. They are being charged with multiple counts of wire fraud, tax fraud, money laundering, and other offenses in connection with their roles in the decades-long scheme that has come to be known as the Panama Papers. The repercussions of those leaks were far-ranging, prompting the resignation of the prime minister of Iceland and bringing scrutiny to the leaders of Argentina and Ukraine, Chinese politicians and Russian President Vladimir Putin, among others.
All four of the defendants have been arrested. Brauer worked as an investment manager for Mossfon Asset Management, S.A., which is an asset management company closely affiliated with Mossack Fonseca, and was arrested in Paris, France, on November 15, 2018.
Von Der Goltz, is an 81-year old is a German citizen who lived in Guatemala before moving, in 1984, to Boston, where he opened a successful investment business. He was arrested in London, UK, on December 3, 2018.
Accountant Richard Gaffey, the first American known to face criminal charges from the massive leak of files, is a partner in the Massachusetts tax firm Elder, Gaffey & Paine, was arrested in Medfield, Massachusetts, on December 4, 2018.
Owens- the last of the four to be apprehended – is a Panamanian attorney who worked for Mossack Fonseca, and he was arrested on December 6, 2018.
“Elder, Gaffey & Paine believes the charges put forth in the indictment unsealed in the Southern District of New York, and the subsequent charging of partner Dick Gaffey, are without merit,” the firm said in a statement to McClatchy and the Miami Herald. “The firm has cooperated completely with federal officials, and Mr. Gaffey will be mounting a defense against the government’s allegations.” According to McClatchy DC Bureau.
Also according to McClatchy, a top former IRS investigations chief thinks the action against Gaffey and Owens signals the likelihood of more prosecutions to come… as many have already speculated.
There may be difficulty extraditing Owens to the United States, given that the U.S. does not have an extradition treaty with Panama. The US does have a free-trade pact with the Central American nation, however. And it is noted that the United States did extradite former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli from Miami to Panama to face a corruption trial in June of this year.
McClatchy reports that Owens was arrested because he had been out on bail for an ongoing case alleging he helped Brazilians launder money. Owens was already under house arrest in Panama and remains under investigation for an ongoing money laundering investigation in Brazil, as well.
Authorities world wide are banning together to continue the search for the leak of evidence and in early December, German police raided Deutsche Bank offices in the financial capital of Frankfurt in connection with the Panama Papers, according to JD News.
I copied the paragraph below directly from Justice.gov exactly as is (with the exception of the bold. I did that to make my point) because I wanted to point out, that no matter where you look this up online, please take note that the names of these that were indicted are ALWAYS spelled in ALL CAPS.
“from 2000 through 2017, OWENS and BRAUER conspired with others to help U.S. taxpayer clients of Mossack Fonseca conceal assets and investments, and the income generated by those assets and investments, from the IRS through fraudulent, deceitful, and dishonest means. To conceal their clients’ assets and income from the IRS, OWENS and BRAUER worked to establish and manage opaque offshore trusts and undeclared bank accounts on behalf of U.S. taxpayers who were clients of Mossack Fonseca. OWENS and BRAUER marketed, created, and serviced sham foundations and shell companies formed under the laws of countries such as Panama, Hong Kong, and the British Virgin Islands, to conceal from the IRS and others the ownership by U.S. taxpayers of accounts established at overseas banks, as well as the income generated in those accounts. As structured by Mossack Fonseca, the sham foundations typically “owned” the shell companies that nominally held the undeclared assets on behalf of the U.S. taxpayer clients of Mossack Fonseca. The names of Mossack Fonseca’s clients generally did not appear anywhere on the incorporation paperwork for the sham foundations or related shell companies, although the clients in fact beneficially owned, and had complete access to, the assets of those sham entities and accounts.”
The main assumption I’m seeing all over the internet and social medias that this indictment has to do with the Clintons. This indictment makes no mention of the Clintons, and so does not directly relate to them. They may be indirectly related as it has been noted that among those named in the papers as using the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca to set up offshore entities are Gabrielle Fialkoff, who served as Hillary’s finance director during her first campaign for the Senate in New York, according to the NY Post.
Another name mentioned in the papers is billionaire, Frank Giustra, a Canadian mining magnate and longtime buddy of Bill Clinton who has donated $100 million to the Clinton Foundation. Another name linked to the Clintons mentioned in the papers is The Chagoury Group, which is an international developer based in West Africa that has pledged $1 billion in projects to the Clinton Global Initiative. It has also been discovered that John Podesta was on the executive board of a client of Mossack Fonseca.
I don’t want to make false assumptions, but it sure would be nice if some of these ties pan out so I could do my Happy Dance in 2019!