The firestorm of attention, now focused on the Republic of Panama, especially upon its banking industry, may expose some of the country's darker banking secrets. Given that the financial world's attention span may be short, let us proceed to open the door to one of the more sordid aspects of Panama's banks: its ongoing love affair with Russian organized crime, and its criminal proceeds.
While it may be considered poor manners to precisely name the offending financial institutions involved, let us work around their identities, as we detail the offenses. I have two panamanian banks in mind; both maintain separate Private Client facilities, for their best high net-worth customers. the problem is, they are members of various Russian organized crime syndicates. Both banks have no issues with accepting as much capital as can be deposited by these clients, with absolutely no questions asked, as to Source of Funds.
I choose not to name them, but if you are familiar with the local banking scene, try your luck:
(1) The first bank made the mistake of seizing deposits reported to be the property of a certain Cartel, and one of their most senior officers was subsequently kidnapped, and held for two years, suffering the loss of certain of his body parts, during the unfortunate affair.
(2) The second bank, which started out as a money service business, was accused of sending a carload of credits cards to Venezuelan clients, and it later got into hot water on another matter, where it was accused of misconduct.
Of course, by now my readers know that no Panamanian bank is ever charged with money laundering by the country's prosecutors, even laundering the profits of Russian organized crime.
What are the Russians doing so far from Moscow, you ask, and exactly how are they earning these millions of dollars that are depositing in institutions that I will refer to, for the sake of this article, as Bank M and Bank T ? They obtained lucrative government contracts, from very senior officials, and were represented by the most prominent attorneys in Panama City. We will name & shame them tomorrow, so stay tuned.