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Ramón Fonseca Mora

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ramón Fonseca Mora
Ramon Fonseca.jpg
Born (1952-07-14) 14 July 1952 (age 68)
Alma materUniversity of Panama
London School of Economics
Occupationnovelist and lawyer
Known forco-founder of Mossack Fonseca
Political partyPanameñista Party

Ramón Fonseca Mora (born 14 July 1952) is a Panamanian novelist and lawyer, the co-founder of Mossack Fonseca, a former law firm based in Panama with more than 40 offices worldwide. He was minister-counselor of Juan Carlos Varela, and president of the Panameñista Party until he was dismissed in March 2016, due to the Brazilian Operation Car Wash.[1] In 2016, the law firm he owned was raided by police on suspicion of money-laundering, bribery and corruption.[2] Fonseca and his partner Jürgen Mossack were arrested and jailed on 10 February 2017.[3] They were initially refused bail because the court saw a flight risk,[4] but were released on 21 April 2017 after a judge ruled they had cooperated with the investigation and ordered them each to pay $500,000 in bail.[5][6] Numerous lawsuits including serious allegations of collusion with despotic regimes, mafia, and global criminals are ongoing.[7]

Early life

Fonseca was born on 14 July 1952 in Panama,[8][9] and studied law and political science at the University of Panama and the London School of Economics. As a young man, "he hoped to save the world".[10]

As a young man Fonseca reportedly considered joining the priesthood.[11] Also, according to the ICIJ he revealed in a 2008 television interview that, "I didn't save anything, I didn't make any change. I decided then, as I was a little more mature, to dedicate myself to my profession, to have a family, to get married and have a regular life … As one gets older, you turn more materialistic."[citation needed]


In 1977, Fonseca and Jürgen Mossack founded the law firm Mossack Fonseca in Panama City.[12] It went on to become the world's fourth-largest offshore law firm, with more than 40 offices all over the world. In March 2018, the firm shut down in the wake of its involvement in the Panama Papers affair.[13]

He is also a member of the Panameñista Party.[14]

Fonseca is also an award-winning novelist.[10] He has written four novels, along with plays and short stories. He has been awarded the Ricardo Miró Prize, the national literary award in Panama, twice, for novels Dance of the Butterflies (1994) and Dream City (1998).[15]

Criminal investigations

Panama Papers

Following the leak of 11.5 million Mossack Fonseca documents by an anonymous whistle-blower to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung in 2016, it was revealed how offshore tax regimes were exploited for tax purposes.[16] While offshore entities are not in themselves illegal, the documents showed how some of the more than 214,000 shell companies set up by Mossack Fonseca were used for illegal purposes, including fraud and tax evasion.[17] The documents were shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. As a result, more than 150 inquiries and criminal investigations were launched in more than 70 countries worldwide.[18]

On 20 October 2020, prosecutors in Cologne, Germany issued international arrest warrants for Fonseca and his German-born law partner, Jürgen Mossack. Charges against them include accessory to tax evasion and forming a criminal organization, with the firm noted as central to the investigation.[19]

Money laundering in Brazil

According to court papers filed on 15 October 2019, Mossack and Fonseca "are the subjects of an FBI Investigation in the Southern District of New York" and are "defending criminal charges against them in Panama."[20]

In February 2017, both Fonseca and Mossack were arrested in connection with an investigation into money laundering and corruption in Brazil, known as Operation Car Wash. They were released on bail the following April.[6]

Personal life

Fonseca has six children.[21] He was previously married to Elizabeth Ward Neiman,[22][23] who became the Ambassador of the Republic of Panama to The Netherlands on 9 September 2020.[24] As of April 2016 his son, Eduardo Fonseca Ward, was the former ambassador to the UAE.[25]


  • 1976, Las cortes internacionales de justicia
  • 1977, Reflexiones de derecho judicial
  • 1985, Compañías panameñas
  • 1988, Panamá, un viejo lugar bajo el sol
  • 1998, Soñar con la ciudad
  • 1994, La danza de las mariposas, won the Ricardo Miró Prize, Panama's national book award[26]
  • 1996, La ventana abierta
  • 1995, La isla de las iguanas
  • 1997, Ojitos de ángel
  • 1998, Dream City, won the Ricardo Miró Prize[26]
  • 2000, 4 mujeres vestidas de negro
  • 2007, El desenterrador
  • 2012, Míster Politicus, "articulates the tangled processes that unscrupulous officials use to gain power and achieve their detestable ambitions"[26]

In popular culture

In 2016, Steven Soderbergh announced he would produce a film about the Panama Papers affair.[27] The comedy-drama The Laundromat premiered at the Venice Film Festival on 1 September 2019.[28] Fonseca and Mossack tried to block the film's release on Netflix by filing a defamation lawsuit against Netflix in October 2019, arguing that the ongoing FBI investigation and possible trial in New York as well as their defence against criminal charges in Panama could be negatively prejudiced by the way they are portrayed in The Laundromat.[29] A judge ruled that the case was filed in the wrong court, transferring it to Los Angeles.[30] With a court decision still pending, the film was made available for streaming by Netflix on October 18, 2019. In the film, Fonseca is portrayed by Antonio Banderas.[31]


  1. ^ (in Spanish) Ministro consejero Fonseca Mora se va de licencia sur, 11 March 2016
  2. ^ Garside, Juliette (11 February 2017). "Mossack Fonseca: Panama Papers law firm bosses refused bail". Retrieved 12 May 2019 – via
  3. ^ "Founders of Panama Papers Law Firm Arrested on Money Laundering Charges". Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  4. ^ "Panama Papers law firm bosses refused bail following bribery arrests". The Independent. 11 February 2017. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  5. ^ "Panama grants bail to Mossack Fonseca founders in Brazil corruption case". Reuters. 2017-04-22. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  6. ^ a b "Detained partners of law firm at the heart of Panama Papers scandal granted bail". DW.COM. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  7. ^ Washington, Jon Swaine Stephanie Kirchgaessner in (4 December 2018). "Panama Papers investigation: four men criminally charged in US". Retrieved 12 May 2019 – via
  8. ^ Nicanor Alvarado. "Ramón Fonseca Mora: "Vengo a contar mi verdad"". Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  9. ^ "Ramón Fonseca Mora". Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  10. ^ a b "Panamanian Law Firm Is Gatekeeper To Vast Flow of Murky Offshore Secrets · ICIJ". Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  11. ^ "A torrential leak | The Economist". Archived from the original on 2016-09-06. Retrieved 2016-09-09.
  12. ^ Andrew Buncombe (2016-03-04). "Panama Papers: Jurgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca – the lawyers whose firm is at the centre of global controversy | Americas | News". The Independent. Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  13. ^ Slawson, Nicola (2018-03-14). "Mossack Fonseca law firm to shut down after Panama Papers tax scandal". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  14. ^ "Ramón Fonseca Mora". Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  15. ^ "Obras – Ramón Fonseca Mora". Retrieved 2016-04-05.
  16. ^ Harding, Luke (2016-04-05). "What are the Panama Papers? A guide to history's biggest data leak". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  17. ^ "The Panama Papers: Exposing the Rogue Offshore Finance Industry". ICIJ. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  18. ^ "Panama Papers Have Had Historic Global Effects — and the Impacts Keep Coming". ICIJ. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  19. ^ "German arrest order for Panama Papers lawyers faces hurdle" Associated Press 2020-10-21
  20. ^ "Mossack Fonseca & Co., S.A. et al v. Netflix Inc., Docket No. 3:19-cv-01618 (D. Conn. Oct 15, 2019), Court Docket". Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  21. ^ "Preguntas Frecuentes – Ramón Fonseca Mora". Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  22. ^ "Santa Clara Athletics - Men's Rowing". Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  23. ^ "Festival de Debutantes 2007". Panamá América (in Spanish). 2007-06-06. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  24. ^ "H.E. Elizabeth Ward is Panama’s Ambassador to The Kingdom of the Netherlands"Diplomat Magazine 2020-09-09
  25. ^ "Mossack & Fonseca deeply entrenched in Foreign Service". April 8, 2016. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  26. ^ a b c "The saga of Mossack Fonseca" The Hindu 2017-04-20
  27. ^ McNary, Dave (2016-07-07). "Panama Papers Movie in the Works From Steven Soderbergh". Variety. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  28. ^ Brooks, Xan (2019-09-01). "The Laundromat review: Gary Oldman spins lies to Meryl Streep in sparkling comedy". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  29. ^ Spencer, Samuel (2019-10-18). ""The Laundromat" on Netflix: What are the Panama Papers". Newsweek. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  30. ^ "Netflix's 'The Laundromat' Goes On as Court Transfers Lawsuit". The New York Times. Associated Press. 2019-10-18. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  31. ^ "The Panama Papers". Retrieved 2019-11-04.

External links

This page was last edited on 13 April 2021, at 18:57
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