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Secret guilty plea revealed in US Panama Papers criminal probe

Joachim Alexander von der Goltz repaid the U.S. government more than $230,000 after admitting to financial crimes revealed by the ICIJ investigation.

A third person has pleaded guilty to financial crimes as part of a probe sparked by the Panama Papers investigation, newly released court documents show.

The unexpected guilty plea by Joachim Alexander von der Goltz was revealed by a federal court order in the Southern District of New York on Thursday.

Von der Goltz is the son of Harald Joachim von der Goltz, the 83-year old former U.S. resident who pleaded guilty to tax evasion and fraud in 2020 and was sentenced to four years in prison.

For 16 years, Joachim Alexander von der Goltz and others attempted to evade paying U.S. taxes, according to prosecutors. In 2003, von der Goltz sent an email with identification information from Guatemala “in an effort to conceal the United States residence of the beneficial owner” of an offshore shell company, prosecutors said.

In 2016, when questioned by U.S. officials after the release of the Panama Papers investigation, von der Goltz falsely claimed that he was unaware of the requirement to report a foreign bank account.

Von der Goltz pleaded guilty in December 2019 to conspiracy to commit tax evasion, fraud and submitting false documents. He has already repaid the government more than $230,000.

Von der Goltz’s guilty plea is the third since U.S. officials launched an investigation on the heels of the 2016 Panama papers investigation, which was led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and Süddeutsche Zeitung. In December 2018, prosecutors announced charges against Harald Joachim von der Goltz, his accountant Dick Gaffey, and former attorneys with the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, Dirk Brauer and Ramses Owens. The attorneys remain wanted.

Files from the Panama Papers show that Joachim Alexander von der Goltz was the director of the Panama company, Brecknock Corporation. He wrote to Mossack Fonseca with an address at the Massachusetts company, Boston Capital Ventures. The law firm referred to him internally as “Baron,” according to emails.

Von der Goltz had a unique level of knowledge about his father’s offshore affairs, according to leaked documents. No other beneficiary of the $50 million Revack Holdings Foundation was allowed to know of its existence, according to a “due diligence memorandum” prepared by Mossack Fonseca lawyers.

Von der Goltz was also a beneficiary of a trust that owned an apartment in Miami, a house in Massachusetts and investments in Boston Capital Ventures, according to the memorandum. He was entitled to assets in Germany and Guatemala and to assets from a trust in the Bahamas.

Attorneys for von der Goltz did not reply to ICIJ’s request for comment.

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