Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Sunday, September 29, 2013

VENEZUELAN MONEY LAUNDERERS CONTINUE TO THRIVE IN PANAMA


If you were able to line up all the money launderers practicing their dark art in the Republic of Panama, you would find that a large portion of them are Venezuelan nationals. While for the undersigned to name them would only invite libel actions, it is important to understand who they are, and why they find Panama City to be such a user-friendly place for laundrymen.

Which Venezuelans are engaged in money laundering ? Running down the list, I see:

(1) A number of them are Caracas attorneys, serving their clients' needs, albeit illegally.
(2) Venezuelan PEPs, individuals closely linked to corrupt members of the Maduro regime, who are moving government funds stolen or illegally diverted, as well as bribes and kickbacks, for their associates in government, who cannot be seen depositing dirty money.
(3) Laundrymen working for narcotics traffickers, whether they be Venezuelan or Colombian.
(4) Bankers, some of whom have close correspondent relationships with Panamanian banks, or even branches, affiliates, subsidiaries, or related companies in the country.
(5) Terrorist financiers for local Hezbollah and Hamas agents, and those working for assorted other sanctioned terrorist groups, including the FARC and ELN.
(6) Money launderers whose task is to clean Iranian capital, and pay for shipments of goods that will be evading global sanctions on Iran, through deliveries to third countries, and subsequent transfer to Iran.

So, why Panama for Venezuelans ? Little or no identification of Beneficial Ownership, or requirement that Source of Funds be disclosed, a friendly Spanish-speaking legal and financial community, a large number of foreign embassies and consulates in the capital, the presence of international banks there, and  a total lack of government enforcement of the laws governing transport of cash or financial instruments into Panama.

Venezuelan money launderers will continue to clean the criminal proceeds of their clients in Panama, until and unless some law enforcement agency comes in and makes it so difficult for them to operate, that the laundrymen take their business elsewhere.

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