Fact Check: Argentina

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SINCE RUFO EXPIRED

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Check out Vice Magazine’s Expose on Mossack Fonseca

Mossack Fonseca, the firm Argentine prosecutors say was hired by Lázaro Báez to set up shell companies for his huge money laundering operation, is the subject of an investigative report this morning in Vice Magazine:

“Mossack Fonseca, of course, is not alone in setting up shell companies used by the world’s crooks and tax evaders […] 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.

“But a yearlong investigation reveals that Mossack Fonseca—which the Economist has described as a remarkably “tight-lipped” industry leader in offshore finance—has served as the registered agent for front companies tied to an array of notorious gangsters and thieves that […] includes associates of Muammar Gaddafi and Robert Mugabe, as well as an Israeli billionaire who has plundered one of Africa’s poorest countries, and a business oligarch named Lázaro Báez, who, according to US court records and reports by a federal prosecutor in Argentina, allegedly laundered tens of millions of dollars through a network of shell firms, some which Mossack Fonseca had helped register in Las Vegas.”

The Panamanian partner in the Kirchner-Báez scheme isn’t only a major player in the vast web of Argentine corruption, tax evasion and money laundering.  Vice reports that Mossack Fonseca helped the “bag man” of President Bashar al Assad of Syria assemble a network of shell companies to steal and launder billions of dollars in stolen public funds and bribes for years.

Mossack Fonseca’s role in the “K Money Trail” was first revealed indirectly in a report filed by prosecutor José María Campagnoli in May 2013. But subsequent investigations have proven that Mossack Fonseca was responsible for setting up shell companies and integrating them into an elaborate network across at least four continents, which we have investigated and reported on extensively.  It seems that when the Kirchners sent Lázaro Báez out to launder their ill-gotten gains, he hired the preferred firm among the world’s most unsavory dictators.

Here’s a link to the article from Vice: The Law Firm that Works with Oligarchs, Money Launderers, and Dictators