In a revealing interview this week, the President of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli, has admitted that he does not plan to relinquish power after he leaves office next year. To the contrary, through his many ministerial and agency head appointments, for long terms, and by retaining the presidency for the ruling CD party, he fully intends to continue to control the Republic of Panama for the foreseeable future, much in the same manner as did the former Panamanian strongman, General Manuel Noriega.
Given that the laundering of narcotics profits, as well as the movement of funds for designated terrorist organisations, continues to be rampant throughout the Panamanian financial system, a continuation of the Martinelli policies, which have basically ignored anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism, ostensibly in order to maximise new construction and grow the national economy, seem to be the shape of things to come.
Since the Panamanian Government will surely not be charging those of its ministers involved with drug trafficking, insider trading, and various forms of corruption, anytime soon, you are advised that risk levels for Panama, especially those financial institutions engaged in money laundering or terrorist financing, is subject to rapid increase, should OFAC sanctions, or indictments, be issued by the United States. You also should be aware that those ministers, their leader, and a large number of Panamanian PEPs could very well be charged in Miami or New York or Washington, just when they think they are immune.
Please factor these possibilities carefully into your calculation of Country Risk for Panama, and do not overextend yourself with its banks.