Lawyer and one of the main defendants in the Panama Paper case, Jurguen Mossack, speaks to reporters upon his arrival at the court of justice in Panama City on April 8, 2024. Image Credit: AFP

Panama City: A Panamanian court on Friday acquitted 28 people charged with money laundering at the center of the "Panama Papers" scandal, the court said.

Judge Baloisa Marquinez "acquitted 28 people accused... of money laundering" relating to the now-defunct Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, the court said in a statement.

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Among those acquitted were the firm's founders, Jurgen Mossack and Ramon Fonseca. The latter died in May in a Panamanian hospital.

During the trial, which was held in Panama City in April, the prosecution asked for 12 years in prison for the duo, the maximum sentence for money laundering.

However, Marquinez found that evidence collected from the law firm's servers had not been gathered in line with due process, raising doubts about its "authenticity and integrity".

The judge also ruled that "the rest of the evidence was not sufficient and conclusive to determine the criminal responsibility of the defendants," the court statement said.

Leaked documents from Mossack Fonseca in 2016 revealed how many of the world's wealthy stashed assets in offshore companies, triggering scores of investigations around the globe.

Others implicated included former British premier David Cameron, football star Lionel Messi, Argentina's then-president Mauricio Macri and Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar, to name but a few.