Remember the Panama papers? Well they are finally about to hold someone accountable.
A German businessman charged with tax evasion and money laundering offenses following the publication of the Panama Papers investigation will plead guilty in New York, federal prosecutors said.
Harald Joachim von der Goltz, a former U.S. taxpayer, was indicted in December 2018 on charges that included wire fraud and making false statements as part of a “decades-long scheme to defraud the United States,” according to prosecutors.
Von der Goltz was a long-term client of the now-defunct Panama-founded law firm Mossack Fonseca. Prosecutors allege that von der Goltz, with the assistance of three other defendants, hid millions of dollars offshore, including through shell companies in Panama that he falsely claimed were owned by his centenarian mother in Guatemala.
As recently as December 2019, von der Goltz had denied wrongdoing. In filings made public last week, prosecutors did not specify the charge or charges to which von der Goltz will plead guilty. Von der Goltz’s lawyers will appear in court to change his plea on February 18.
“The simple failure of a U.S. taxpayer to disclose the existence of a foreign account is itself a serious violation of US law,” said Ross Delston, a Washington D.C.-based attorney and anti-money laundering specialist.
“Once the name of a potential violator surfaces, law enforcement can then fill in the details, thanks in large part to this treasure trove of intelligence called the Panama Papers.”