In recent weeks, U.S. prosecutors and defense attorneys representing men charged with financial crimes arising from the Panama Papers have sparred over definitions, legal principles and documents. Here’s the latest.
November 6, 2019: Documents for everyone!
Judge Richard M. Berman ordered U.S. prosecutors to share thousands of documents with defense attorneys, including details on money and property allegedly obtained through fraud and statements from unindicted co-conspirators.
November 4, 2019: ‘Owens is not a fugitive.’
Ramses Owens, a former Mossack Fonseca attorney and one of four men charged in the United States as a result of the Panama Papers investigation, filed a legal memorandum in New York in which he argued the United States prosecutors had got it all wrong.
Owens isn’t a fugitive from justice, the document said. Contrary to prosecutors’ allegations, Owens said he wanted to attend hearings scheduled in New York but has been prevented from leaving Panama, where he is also under investigation and subject to strict bail terms.
Owens said his absence from proceedings in New York is “involuntary.”
Owens is facing five charges of conspiring to defraud the U.S. and to commit wire fraud, tax evasion and money laundering.
Prosecutors argued before Judge Richard M. Berman on Oct. 24 that, despite his claims, “Owens has not taken any meaningful steps to face the pending charges in this District.”
Prosecutors said they continued to view Owens as a fugitive because he had not taken the U.S. up on its offer of trying to reach an agreement with Panama to allow Owens to travel to New York for the criminal case.
Earlier, Panama’s office against organized crime rejected Owens’ request to travel to New York from October 24 to November 6 to attend a scheduled hearing in the U.S.
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October 24, 2019: Meanwhile, in Panama
In Panama, lawyers for Ramses Owens argued that his rights to due process had been violated when prosecutors searched his cell phone.
In addition to the charges in the U.S., Owens is charged with a raft of criminal offenses in Panama arising from the Panama Papers investigation.
In a 120-page transcript released in October, Owens’ lawyers criticized Panama prosecutors for seizing 1704 documents and text, video, metadata and images from Owens’ Samsung phone.