Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Thursday, November 13, 2014

PRESIDENT DEMANDS RESIGNATION OF PANAMA'S ATTORNEY GENERAL


Fiscal Ana Belfon

Ana Isabel Belfon Vejas, the Attorney General of Panama, has been asked to resign by President Varela. Belfon, whose current term expires on December 31, is at the center of several major scandals in Panama City:

(1) the Attorney General has been accused of deliberately blocking the progress of the original investigation into the Financial Pacific (FP) insider trading securities scandal. Former President Ricardo Martinelli, who is among the government officers who allegedly took illegal profits in Petaquilla Mines stock, based upon inside information, appointed Belfon to her present position, and there are allegations that she killed the FP investigation, on Martinelli's specific orders.

(2) Ethel González de Jerez, (the wife of Nicaraguan PEP Byron Jerez) who was acquitted in a money laundering case, has demanded Belfon's resignation, and filed criminal Abuse of Authority charges, after Belfon failed to return $4.2m she seized in that case, after the acquittal was handed down.

(3) Additionally, Belfon's complete lack of enforcement of Panama's money laundering laws during the past several years, where a number of prominent Panamanians, as well as local banks, were never charged with criminal activity, despite overwhelming evidence, has created a well-founded fear that there were instances of corruption in her office, and that she and other prosecutors illegally benefitted from declining to pursue criminal charges for money laundering.

Whether the Attorney General will also be charged in the Financial Pacific case is still unknown, but charges in the United States may be coming in the future; a former senior American government official, now a consultant and investigator in the private sector, has been seen in Panama; Is the Securities & Exchange Commission contemplating action, and against whom ? We cannot say, but we will be watching.



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