Panama Papers law firm representative in Venezuela arrested
By Caribbean News Now contributor
CARACAS, Venezuela -- Jannet Almeida, a local representative of the Panamanian law firm of Mossack Fonseca, which is at the center of the Panama Papers offshore scandal, has been arrested by Venezuelan authorities in Caracas.
"The woman was in charge of seeking customers to invest illicit funds in outsourcing-type business arrangements," the prosecutor's office said in a statement late on Friday.
Almeida will be charged with illegally obtaining funds in violation of banking regulations, the statement said.
In an indication of how seriously the Venezuelan government is taking the matter, she has been detained at the Directorate of Military Intelligence. Almeida's residence was raided in May and documents were seized at that time, according to prosecutors.
Many Mossack Fonseca representatives outside Panama have come under scrutiny, for facilitating tax evasion, and money laundering, for their Mossack clients.
Almeida is the second Venezuelan to be arrested in association with the case following the April detention of businessman Josmel Velasquez on money laundering charges.
The attorney general of Venezuela recently announced an unprecedented joint investigation with Panamanian counterparts to probe individuals suspected of wrongdoing after their names surfaced in the Panama Papers.
Luisa Ortega Díaz, Venezuela’s attorney general since 2007, has hinted that her office’s inquiries so far had produced a long list of suspects.
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