Ramón Fonseca, Cofounder of Law Firm at Center of Panama Papers, Dies

Ramón Fonseca, who co-founded the law firm at the heart of the Panama Papers leak, died Wednesday night, his lawyer confirmed, while awaiting the verdict in his money-laundering trial in Panama.

Mr. Fonseca, 71, died after complications from pneumonia, his daughter, Raquel Fonseca, told the Spanish news agency EFE.

Both Mr. Fonseca and Jürgen Mossack, who together founded the Mossack Fonseca firm, stood trial in Panama last month in relation to an explosive investigation published in 2016 by a coalition of news outlets that looked at 11.5 million confidential documents from the firm. The files, leaked by an anonymous source, identified international politicians, business leaders, criminals and celebrities involved in webs of suspicious financial transactions that concealed their wealth and avoided taxes.

During the trial, which began April 8 and lasted 10 days, prosecutors alleged that the firm had created shell companies with the purpose of hiding money that came from illicit activities. A total of 29 people — former employees of the now-shuttered firm and alleged conspirators — were accused of money laundering.

Since the beginning of the scandal, Mr. Fonseca and Mr. Mossack maintained their innocence. In an interview shortly after the Panama Papers exposé broke, Mr. Fonseca said that the firm had carefully vetted its clients but that it was similar to a car factory that “is not responsible for what is done with the car” after it is sold.

Mr. Fonseca studied at the London School of Economics and later worked for several years at the United Nations in Geneva. He told The New York Times that he had been “trying to save the world.”

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