Three days after the Panama Papers were published at the beginning of April 2016, Jürgen Mossack spoke to the Wall Street Journal. The story put his law firm Mossack Fonseca (Mossfon) at the center of a global scandal that was covered by more than 100 media outlets around the world. The story revealed the law firm’s dark business dealings, which included links to Mexican drug cartels and one of the Syrian regime’s biggest financiers, as well as to dictators, arms smugglers, and tax evaders. One report described how the billions were funneled through an offshore network of president Vladimir Putin’s best friend. Jürgen Mossack’s law firm allegedly enabled corruption, helped its clients breach sanctions, and made a slew of other crimes possible. At the same time, Mossfon’s activities covered the perpetrators’ tracks.
In the days before the Panama Papers story broke, Mossack ignored all requests for comment, including the Süddeutsche Zeitung’s. In the interview with the Wall Street Journal, the German-born lawyer was defiant and aggressive. While he admitted that mistakes had been made, he denied that his law firm had broken any laws. He also stated that Mossack Fonseca would not just give up and “go plant bananas or something”. Rather, Mossack fully intended to keep doing business as usual.