Banned from leaving the country Panamanian lawyer investigated for Panama Papers

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  • Sat, 01/12/2019 - 12:09
Ramses Owen
  • wikipedia.org

The Panamanian lawyer Ramses Owen, to whom the US Department of Justice made charges within the investigation of the Panama Papers, was benefited by the justice of his country with the change of his provisional detention for the prohibition of leaving the country, said this Friday an official source.

The change comes despite the plenary session of the Supreme Court of Justice of Panama (SCJ), in ruling on a Habeas Corpus filed in Owens' favor, declared the personal precautionary measure of provisional detention decreed against the lawyer, said in a statement the Judicial Branch (JB).

Against Owens the Panamanian justice follows a process "as an alleged offender of crimes against the economic order, specifically money laundering, known as the 'Panama Papers' case".

Owens was apprehended on December 6 in the sector of Costa del Este, an exclusive neighborhood of the Panamanian capital, "in moments he was entering his residential", said on that occasion to Acan-Efe an official source.

The US Department of Justice announced on December 4 charges against 4 people related to the investigation of the Panama Papers, in what are the first prosecutions of people involved in this investigation linked to international money laundering.

Ramses Owens, Dirk Brauer, Richard Gaffey and Harald von der Goltz were indicted, in the Southern District Court of New York, of electronic fraud, tax fraud, money laundering and other crimes related to their roles in a criminal scheme allegedly perpetrated by the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

In the ruling issued this Thursday in Panama, the plenary of the SCJ imposes on Owens the prohibition to leave the territory of the Republic without judicial authorization.

Also the duty to appear on Monday and Friday of each week before the authority that aired the case, and the obligation to reside at the address indicated as his domicile in Panama City, having to notify the respective authority in advance of any change of address.

When substantiating its decision, the plenary concluded that "it is certain that, when exceptional scenarios occur, it is permissible to have the application of the most serious of the precautionary measures, but in this particular case this is not observed".

Explains in that sense that the researched "is a Panamanian citizen, maintains domicile in national territory and the times that has been required by the investigating agent to carry out investigative proceedings, he has appeared".

Likewise, the CSJ ordered the corresponding authority to "ensure the effectiveness of this measure and issue the orders that prevent the use of the passport or other identification document necessary to travel" to Owens.

The Court also instructed to officiate the National Migration Service, so that the necessary measures are taken "for the purpose of prohibiting his departure from the country."

Last May, Owens was granted bail of US$ 200,000 that he never proceeded to consign, for which he was arrested, according to local press reports that were confirmed to Acan-Efe by the source.

In April 2016, hundreds of media outlets had access to the database of Mossack Fonseca and revealed that personalities from all over the world hired its services to create offshore companies and presumably evade taxes.

The Panama Papers were the culmination of a year-long investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung.


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