It’s been a while since I did one of these, but today we will be taking a look at Panama-based Mossack & Fonseca.
Mossack & Fonseca is, first and foremost, a law firm and not a pure offshore service provider. Like many other law firms, they do not post offers on their websites. However, they offer incorporation in all of their offices and can facilitate with bank account in opening in most:
- British Virgin Islands
- Czech Republic
- Hong Kong
- Isle of Man
- United Arab Emirates
The prices are higher than a regular OSP, with an IBC costing around 1,000 – 1,200 USD without bank account. Cost of bank account is another few hundred to a thousand, depending on bank and company.
They also offer nominees, immigration services, investment advice, yacht registrations, trusts, IP rights, and several other auxiliary services.
Time to see if we can see who owns Mossack & Fonseca and whether they are licensed to offer the services that they offer.
We again start with a whois of the domain.
Domain Name: MOSSFON.COM Registry Domain ID: Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.networksolutions.com Registrar URL: http//www.networksolutions.com/en_US/ Updated Date: 2011-06-21 Creation Date: 1997-04-08 Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2014-04-09 Registrar: NETWORK SOLUTIONS, LLC. Registrar IANA ID: 2 Registrar Abuse Contact Email: [email protected] Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: 1-800-333-7680 Reseller: Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited Registry Registrant ID: Registrant Name: Mossack Fonseca & Co. Registrant Organization: Mossack Fonseca & Co. Registrant Street: Edificio Arango-Orillac Registrant City: Panama Registrant State: Registrant Postal Code: Panama Registrant Country: PA Registrant Phone: 507-2638899 Registrant Phone Ext: Registrant Fax: 507-2639218 Registrant Email: [email protected] Registry Admin ID: Admin Name: Fonseca, Mossack Admin Organization: Mossack Fonseca & Co. Admin Street: Edificio Arango Orillac 1er Piso Admin City: Panama Admin State: null Admin Postal Code: null Admin Country: PA Admin Phone: 5072638899 Admin Phone Ext: Admin Fax: 5072639218 Admin Email: [email protected] Registry Tech ID: Tech Name: Network Solutions, LLC. Tech Organization: Network Solutions, LLC. Tech Street: 13861 Sunrise Valley Drive Tech City: Herndon Tech State: VA Tech Postal Code: 20171 Tech Country: US Tech Phone: 1-888-642-9675 Tech Phone Ext: Tech Fax: 571-434-4620 Tech Email: [email protected]
This tells us that the domain has been around since 1997. The address in the whois does not match the address given on their website. For a company this size, it doesn’t really matter.
First up, we go to the Panamanian public records of companies, which is called Registro Público de Panamá. You will need an account to search for company details. It’s free. Unfortunately, it’s almost entirely in Spanish.
Since Mossack & Fonseca is a Sociedad Anónima (private company), its shareholders are not on public records. This is nothing unusual, but it limits the scope of information we can retrieve from the public records.
Like many larger companies, Mossack & Fonseca has divided itself into multiple legal entities.
Two of the companies are dated 1988: Mossack Fonseca Inc and Mossack Fonseca & Co Trading Inc.
One Jurgen Mossack and one Ramon Fonseca appear in different positions across the boards of directors and secretaries for the group’s companies.
I did this once a few years ago for all of their offices. I wish I had saved all the data and could just put it here, because it’s as impressive as it is exhausting. However, I will go through and verify that Mossack & Fonseca are indeed licensed in a couple of the most popular jurisdiction.
Direct links will be included where available. Otherwise just visit the relevant FIU website and search for yourself to confirm. See Links for addresses to FIU websites.
The Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) lists Mossack & Fonseca as an entity licensed to perform corporate services.
British Virgin Islands
According to the BVI Finansial Services Commission (BVIFSC), Mossack & Fonseca holds multiple licenses.
MossFon Trust Corporations holds a license as Authorised Custodian.
Mossack Fonseca & Co. (B.V.I.) Ltd. holds a Class I Trust Licences – Registered Agent Status license.
MossFon Authorised Representatives (B.V.I.) Limited holds a license as Authorised Representatives.
The Jersey Financial Services Commission lists Mossack & Fonseca as being authorized to perform Trust Company Business.
Mossack & Fonseca Co (Samoa) Limited is one of nine licensed trustee companies, according to the Samoa International Finance Authority.
The Seychelles International Business Authority (SIBA) lists Mossack & Fonseca as an ICSP (International Corporate Service Provider).
They are also a licensed FSP (Foundation Service Provider).
We can conclude that Mossack & Fonseca is as transparent as can be reasonably expected. They are licensed in a wide range of offshore jurisdictions, with physical offices all over the world. Their prices are higher than their competitors, but their target audience isn’t one that scrapes the bottom of the barrel for the cheapest deals.
With Mossack & Fonseca, you get excellent service at a fair price. I have used them for many years now and will continue to use them for years to come.