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4 men indicted in connection to Panama Papers investigation

4 men indicted in connection to Panama Papers investigation

Three of the four have been arrested, the USA said.

The repercussions of the 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.

The law firm had relatively few American clients.

Four men have been charged in the United States with fraud and tax evasion in connection with investigations prompted by the leaked Panama Papers.

US authorities unsealed charges against four people in connection with offshore accounts opened with the help of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca & Co., in the first USA criminal prosecution to emerge from the so-called Panama Papers leak. Owens, 50, is a citizen of Panama and Brauer, 54, is German citizen, prosecutors said. Brauer was arrested in Paris last month. Von Der Goltz was arrested in London on December 3.

Investigators said Owens and Brauer had for years created and managed sham foundations, opaque offshore trusts and undeclared bank accounts to allow American clients of Mossack Fonseca to hide their income from U.S. tax authorities.

Prosecutors allege Mr Owens and Mr Brauer created and ran sham foundations and shell companies to hide assets. Messages to an attorney for Gaffey weren't immediately returned and it was unclear whether the other two men had attorneys, the AP reported.

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U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said the defendants "shuffled millions of dollars through off-shore accounts" and had "a playbook to repatriate un-taxed money into the U.S. banking system".

An attorney for Von Der Goltz told The Associated Press that the indictment is "a desperate attempt to salvage an American case out of the Panama Papers" and said his client will be vindicated at trial.

Brauer was reportedly an investment manager at Mossfon Asset Management, S.A., which the DOJ says worked closely with Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Gaffey was a USA accountant who allegedly helped Americans set up accounts with Mossack Fonseca, and Von Der Goltz, a German national who lived in the United States, was assisted by Gaffey and Owens in setting up offshore shell companies to hide assets, according to the charges.

Gaffey, an accountant, allegedly helped connect Von Der Goltz and Owens, and assisted in connecting another client, called "client-1" in the DOJ release, to Mossack Fonseca.

Von Der Goltz, an 81-year-old German citizen, was arrested in London on Monday, according to prosecutors, who thanked British authorities for their assistance in the case.

Gaffey and Owens are also accused of helping an unnamed USA taxpayer defraud the maintaining a series of offshore bank accounts to hide wealth from the Internal Revenue Service.