What happened with the Panama Papers in Latin America?

It seems as if the scandal did not have the desired effect in the region

What happened with the Panama Papers in Latin America?

Leer en Español: ¿Qué pasó con los Panamá Papers en Latinoamérica?

After the murder of the Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who had led the investigation of the Panama Papers in her country and openly accused the government of corruption, the fraud scandal is again taking on global importance.

The repudiation that has caused the death of the journalist has made those involved to be back in the spotlight. The son of the journalist directly blames the Maltese government for the death of his mother; he claims it was done in retaliation for having published the list that sprinkled with truth the island country in the Mediterranean. One year after the publication of the research by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), Daphne is the first victim related to the subject.

More than eleven million documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca were leaked by the ICIJ, where 140 politicians from around the world, entrepreneurs, and stars were involved in said scandal. Despite this, it seems as if only sport legends have been the most sought after by law enforcers.

The final echo that had the publication of these documents show that for Latin America this information did not have the relevance it should have had, because the involved, as of today, have an unblemished image.

So far, in Latin America, figures such as the president of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, (although the investigation against him has already been filed) and Daniel Muñoz, the assistant of the former presidents Nestor Kirchner and Cristina Fernandez, have been involved in the Panama Papers.

The media pointed out that the soccer player Lionel Messi was involved in the case due to an alleged acquisition of a Panamanian company for the rights of his image. However, the athlete's family came out in his defense arguing that the firm in question had never been used nor does it have financial assets.

In Brazil, the investigation involved the president of the Chamber of Deputies Eduardo Cunha and the former parliamentarian João José Pereira de Lyra. However, the Odebrecht case and the Operation Car Wash continue to lead in corruption and in relevance.

In Chile, Alfredo Ovalle Rodríguez and Raimundo Langlois Vicuña, directors of the Chilean mining group Minera Las Cenizas, were accused of being part of the scandal due to their involvement in the Panamanian company Sierra Leone S.A.; to date, there is no impact on the mining company or its managers.

ICIJ linked the Colombian Carlos Gutiérrez Robayo, a colleague of the former mayor of Bogota, and Gustavo Petro, Bogota’s former mayor, in the creation of companies in Panama and the Virgin Islands. Also, two government negotiators who were in the Havana peace negotiations. However, such accusations had little to no effect due to the fact that both politicians have not lost political strength.

In Ecuador, General Attorney Galo Chiriboga is annexed to the documents due to the creation of his company Madrigal Finance Corp., located in Panama. The investigation is still ongoing, but for society it is only logical that he will be freed of all wrongdoings.

In Guatemala, it was revealed that Marllory Chacon Rossel, known as La Reina del Sur, money laundered millions of dollars from drug trafficking with the help of the Panamanian law firm; due to the pressure that the country has been under thanks to the Commission against Corruption and the Impunity of the UN (CICIG), those involved in any case of corruption carry processes in the national prosecution.

In Honduras, former vice president Jaime Rosenthal turned out to be the sole shareholder of the company Renton Management S.A., constituted in Panamanian territory; his case is still in court and a ruling is expected to be issued next year.

In Mexico, Juan Armando Hinojosa, the favorite contractor of the current president Enrique Peña Nieto, as he is call by the Mexican media, has also been accused. In the North American country, tax information is considered to be hermetic which makes it difficult to investigate Hinojosa. Meanwhile, Hinojosa still enjoys of the prestige of making contracts in Mexican territory.

More than eleven million documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca were leaked by the ICIJ, where 140 politicians from around the world were involved

Uruguayan Juan Pedro Damiani, Peñarol club manager, and Eugenio Figueredo, former FIFA vice-president, are also linked to offshore accounts. The investigation has been slowed down due to the more recent cases of corruption that involved the now ex-vice-president Raul Sendic.

According to the investigation revealed, Adrian Jose Velasquez Figueroa, former security chief of the Venezuelan presidential palace, opened an account in the Republic of Seychelles four days after the victory of Nicolas Maduro in the presidential elections due to the complicity of the regime president; there is no official pending investigation against Velasquez.

Europe has shown commotion on the issue. Pope Francis has even asked the community to pay its taxes correctly, and avoid cases like that of the Panamanian firm. Latin America, although it has high levels of corruption according to Transparency International, does not seem to want to reduce this factor by not paying attention to the research that has affected the most important social and legal circles of the continent.


Latin American Post | Carlos Eduardo Gómez Avella

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto  


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