In what many will certainly regard as the actions of a kangaroo court, devoid of any loyalty to the rule of law, Richard Fifer, whose former company owes Social Security taxes, and salaries in Panama, was refused bond. Fifer a dual citizen of Panama & Canada, a former provincial governor, and a former diplomat. If anyone qualifies to be released on bond, for any purpose, he certainly qualifies. Additionally, Petaquilla's debts and obligations cannot be imputed to him under a fair interpretation of Panamanian law.
Political influence is believed to have caused the court to order him held, though the circumstances will now serve as an abject warning to foreign businessman, that they could be indefinitely imprisoned, while their possible liability for corporate obligation is sorted out, which could take years. Fifer was relieved of his official duties some time ago, and many legal authorities state that he has no personal liability. The detention is being seen as an improper method is insuring payment, notwithstanding that he probably has no liability. The proceedings will certainly raise risk levels for foreign businessmen and investors thinking of coming to Panama.