Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Thursday, February 5, 2015

PANAMA'S BANKING REGULATOR FAILED TO CURB RAMPANT MONEY LAUNDERING


A Panamanian reader has commented, questioning whether there is any evidence available to support my articles critical of the country's cashiered Superintendent of Banking, Alberto Diamond. Disclosing evidence while an individual is under criminal investigation for corruption is unwise; I suggest that we let the facts speak for themselves:

(1) Superintendent Diamond was appointed to his position, for which he has no professional or educational qualifications, because a member of his family is a relative of former President Ricardo Martinelli. That is called Nepotism.

(2) Diamond's immediate family owns shares of stock in one of Panama's major banks, and one that Diamond was supposed to regulate. That is called Conflict of Interest.

(3) The bank where Diamond family members have an ownership interest is partially owned by members of Panama's Syrian organized crime families. That is called Association with Known Criminal Elements.

(4) During his long tenure as Superintendent of Banking, not only were no banks convicted of money laundering, Diamond actively killed any and all investigations into bank money laundering, including at the bank where his family has an ownership interest. That is called Malfeasance of Office.

(5) Diamond shut down a criminal investigation into the Financial Pacific/Petaquilla Mining Ltd. insider trading scandal, where Martinelli and his ministers took illicit profits, at the expense of other investors. That is called Corrupt Influence or Racketeering.

(6) Diamond publicly bragged that literally of dollars in "flight capital" ($17bn, according to Diamond) flowed into Panamanian banks, from Venezuela, without any compliance checks on Source of Funds or Beneficial Ownership. That is called Willful Blindness.

(7) Diamond used his office to attack financieras who competed with one owned by the family of the Minister of Commerce, and entered bogus charges against businesses owned by opponents of the Martinelli regime. This is called Abuse of Power.

(8) Diamond sought to close down other non-bank financial institutions who failed to pay exorbitant fees and charges that were, in truth and in fact, bribes going into Diamond's pocket. This is called Extortion.

I can go on and on; Diamond utterly failed the people of Panama. Is that sufficient for those who would question whether there is a factual basis for my articles ?  

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