Many expats from Canada & the United States have been relocating to the Republic of Panama in the past several years, and the country has attracted its share of investors. If you are not fluent in Spanish, the risk that you will sustain a financial loss there rises exponentially; here's why.
If you are cheated by a financial criminal, or have a dispute in a legitimate business transaction, the court system, rotten with systemic corruption, will probably shock you. Since all court business is conducted in Spanish, you will need an official interpreter to participate in any court case you bring in the Republic of Panama, whether you are testifying or not.
Defense attorneys know this, and they throw down roadblocks, so that plaintiffs will never go to trial in their cases. Allow me to explain:
(1) The official reporter never shows up for court hearings, and your case is delayed for years, as it cannot progress. They are often bribed not to attend.
(2) Defense lawyers bribe judges' staff, and the judges themselves, to see that the designated interpreter never appears at scheduled hearings. Judicial assistants, suitably bribed, call up the interpreter at the last minute, and advise that the hearing has been cancelled.
(3) Attempts by plaintiffs' attorneys to substitute other interpreters are denied by the Court,probably because the judge has been repeatedly bribed to delay the case indefinitely.
Therefore, unless you speak Spanish fluently enough to participate in a judicial proceeding, do not take the extraordinary risk of investing in Panama, because any case you file will never go to trial.