Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Saturday, July 11, 2015

WILL PANAMA'S REFORM MOVEMENT SUCCEED, OR CRASH & BURN ?


Though impressive thus far, the massive corruption investigation being undertaken by Panamanian anti-corruption prosecutors still has a long way to go, before it can be judged a successful national reform movement. There are many achievements which, unless accomplished, will cause objective observers to doubt that true reform has come to the Republic of Panama.

In my humble opinion, the following, at a bare minimum, needs to occur:

(1) Panama's corrupt former president, Ricardo Martinelli, must be formally charged; this far, his attorneys' dilatory actions have delayed the filing of actual charges. He may not be extradited in 2015, but he must have charges pending against him.

(2) The former ministers in Martinelli's cabinet who engaged in insider trading, and corrupt activities, should all be charge, tried, and imprisoned. Anything less will be regarded as a failure.

(3) Those few corruption investigations that the present Varela administration has frozen, due to the potential for embarrassment of current leaders, must be reopened, forthwith.

(4) Panama's greedy money laundering banks, at least the thirteen culpable in the Financial Pacific/Petaquilla mining scandal, need to be charged, as well as disciplined by the Superintendent of Banking. It is common knowledge, among compliance officers in the US & Canada, that AML compliance is a bad joke, and that serious remedial measures must be taken. Those banks who will not clean themselves up should have their charters revoked. Anything less will result in Panama being placed upon the FATF blacklist.

(5) The utterly corrupt court system, especially those greedy judges who sit in the Supreme Court of Justice, Panama's highest court, sorely needs new, honest members of the judiciary.

If we see these sweeping changes, then it will be said that Panama really did institute meaningful internal reforms, that Country Risk should be greatly reduced, and that it should be removed from
list of non-cooperative jurisdictions. 

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